Behind the Camera and Dreaming

The Ultimate Spiderman Easter + DIY Chalkboard Reusable Basket

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. 
All opinions are mine alone. #DisneyEaster #CollectiveBias

Boys will be boys right? I guess I can forget the days of pastel eggs and sweet little bunnies because I am officially forever a boy mama! I'll try to keep the traditional, sweet smocking outfits and egg hunting and soft side baskets going for a while with my littlest, but this year the Easter Bunny has a special treat for my 3 1/2 year old... SPIDERMAN! 

I put together this Ultimate Marvel Spiderman Easter Basket for Jonah loaded with so much awesome from Walmart. He is going to flip! Since I knew this wouldn't go with his traditional easter basket he's used in years past, I decided to DIY a chalkboard crate that he can use to store things in his room or closet long after Easter. It's fully erasable and can be used for so much because it's big. 

Here's what you need: 

  • Chalkboard spray paint
  • A raw wood crate
  • Chalk

Instructions for DIY Chalkboard Reusable Crate

There's really only three steps.

1. Spray paint evenly using instructions on can, let dry
2. Apply a second coat, let dry
3. Draw whatever you want (spiderwebs, their name, write the year) on the outside and stuff with goodies! 

Walmart had all kinds of great stuff from Disney including Marvel and Spiderman! Jonah doesn't quite know about the Avengers yet so we went with ALL Spiderman. He's going to love it. They had Disney Jr., Frozen, and Disney Princesses too. Along with all kind of Easter fun. 

My favorite part of Easter was always dying eggs. I have been waiting for a time when I can really do that with my kids and I think this is my year with my oldest. So, I also grabbed the Spiderman Egg Dying Kit! So, I'm going to give that to him early so we can dye them ahead of time together. I could not be more excited. I'm sure he will love hiding them as much as he did last year. I think we hid and found eggs until The Fourth of July last year, but he wants to do both - hide and find - not sure how that's going to work this year. We'll see. Spring is finally here y'all. I'm so ready to get outside!

Here's a peek at what all I included in his basket.

Also, just in case you haven't seen them. Those eggs are not real. They are dye-able paper/cardboard not sure what they are made of but I found them at Walmart too and had to get them. We will see how well they hold up. 

Have you planned your Easter Baskets yet? What are your kiddos getting this year? 

Catch the Moment 365 | 2015| Week 11

I think I say this every week, but it really has been busy one! I am so looking forward to this weekend. Even though it will probably be just as busy! I had the opportunity to write a couple of really heart-felt posts this week here on Behind the Camera and Dreaming and really hope that if you haven't you will check them out. I have honestly felt a little uninspired lately. I really need to get some time in behind the camera to to get my creative juices flowing. I also could use a few more hours sleep so that I can get my writing brain back.

71|365 You may have seen this one on Instagram, too funny not to share again! This boy wants to be in the middle of everything! Not the best technical shot (with my iPhone) but a memorable one!

72|365 So, last Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday - Wesley's parents came and stayed with us to help with kids and to start doing some packing, help while we got a home inspection at our new house, and just cut some of the crazy especially while our regular child care (my family) were out of town. I am thankful for family who will just pick up and make our lives a little easier. I wrote earlier in the week, as I mentioned above, about what's really been going on around here. Life is a beautiful messy adventure I guess!

73|365 Even with MeMe and Poppie around, I still like to get some time in with my boys on the weekend because it's really the only time we get to just sit and play. I love letting them "play" together. I can't wait to see their relationship grow.
74|365 Sunday afternoon we got to relax a little and watch the neighbors build a float for the parade this weekend. I'm still on the fence about whether we will participate in any festivities, but may I will make us one of these Shamrock Shakes!  
75|365 Monday, I got to stay home with the boys since I didn't really have much of an option for childcare. We just hung out and then went over to the new house to choose a little paint for the dining room wall. This is my first picture of E in our new house! He'll never remember our old house - which makes me sad, BUT I look forward to watching him learn to crawl, walk, and do all the big boy things he'll do in this house. 

76|365  St Patrick's Day and all their last minute green! (see full post here

77|365 and just because he IS CUTE!

Thanks for taking a peak into our week! Link up and let us see yours!

The Honest Company

CARE Knows How #CareKnowsHow

Thank you to CARE for sponsoring today’s post and inspiring me to learn more about this global humanitarian organization and the amazing ways they are helping all over the world! 

It's not often that something comes up here in internet world that makes me comfortable putting on my social worker hat, after all this blog is typically removed from my profession completely. I feel like this is my personal space and bringing in my professional self makes me feel like I have to be an "expert" in my field, on the internet. That sounds pretty scary to me and I don't know that I'm quite ready for that! That being said though, being a social worker is really a huge part of who I am. My faith and my profession serve as guideposts for how I see and experience the world. Fortunately, in many areas they intersect. So, when asked to share about what CARE is doing around the world, it was a no-brainer! Yes, of course I will share because after all
"the primary mission of the social work profession is to enhance human well-being and help meet the basic human needs of all people, with particular attention to the needs and empowerment of people who are vulnerable, oppressed, and living in poverty. A historic and defining feature of social work is the profession’s focus on individual well-being in a social context and the well-being of society. Fundamental to social work is attention to the environmental forces that create, contribute to, and address problems in living."  taken from the National Association of Social Workers Code of Ethics 
So, not only are we called to be the hands and feet of Jesus but we are asked to teach those we are serving how to have a voice and to care for themselves and others. That's exactly what CARE is doing and that is in perfect alignment to what I hope to achieve as a social worker, believer, and mother. I often feel small and like the world's problems are too great for me, but then something comes along to remind me how making a difference in one life can have a ripple effect on others. So, when CARE goes into communities and works from the bottom-up it shows us that just one person can (and does) make a difference.

CARE is a leading humanitarian organization fighting global poverty with a commitment to empowering women and girls.  CARE is committed to its mission to serve individuals and families in the poorest communities in the world.. CARE seeks a world of hope, tolerance and social justice, where poverty has been overcome and people live in dignity and security. What a strong message that is! To prove that CARE Knows How to achieve these goals, check out the CARE Know How page and read the many stories of what they are doing to empower people around the world.

Beating Poverty with Donuts #CareKnowsHow
Biti Rose Nasoni in the southern African nation of Malawi

For example, the microfinance program and the story of Biti (pictured above), Alfred and their family being able to start their own Donut business to be able to pay their children's school uniform fees is amazing! The foundation of community's survival has to begin within the community itself. Their village is working toward something bigger by bringing 10 cents a week. The cycle of extreme poverty is being broken with $2.00 loans for school uniforms. Now the boy who would not have gone to school at all can have the chance to go to college, along with his siblings. Head over and watch the video embedded from the New York Times.


While you are there, check out the other things CARE Knows How to achieve, like making drinking water from fog, preventing malaria with goat poop, and changing the sheets to pink can convince Peruvian mothers to get prenatal care. CARE doesn't just deliver aid, they learn from the community, teach strategies that will work where the need is, and they provide people with the skills they need to empower other members of their own community. The cycle is changing and we can be a part of that change with CARE. 

So, today and every day I want to encourage you to learn about how you can be the change, even if it's in a really small way like just educating other's in casual conversation by getting updates from CARE on social media or even just giving a few dollars to help facilitate the changes that are being made in these vulnerable communities. You can make a ripple!

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind always be at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
and rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of His hand.

Just an old Irish blessing and couple of silly boys for you today! No matter how silly the holiday, I hope it brings a smile to your face! 

What is your family doing on this beautiful day? I can feel Spring settling in. Can you? 

You should probably make this minty goodness for dessert tonight!

Choosing to see a beautiful mess.

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. 
All opinions and messes are mine all mine. #SweepTheMess #CollectiveBias

 Seeing beauty in the messI thought I'd write about how my three-year-old son loves to be a helper and how sometimes that turns out to be more of mess than a help - and I could write about that - 100 times over. Like just yesterday morning, when I helped him push his chair over to the counter so he could help his MeMe make blueberry muffins and watched as he stuck his finger in the dry ingredients, licked it and said "mmmm that sugar is good!" I watched as if it hadn't been for two of us standing there, I would have been sweeping up a powdery mess instead of eating delicious muffins. I have plenty of examples of loving the messes we make together, but that's not where my heart is tonight. I want to go straight to the meat of what is going on in our house right now, the awful disarray that is moving. If you read here often, then you may know that this has been the topic of a few posts already, but today, this week, this weekend I have let my anxiety get the best of me. Short tempered, stressed out, tightly wound, unwavering and unwilling to compromise are just a few ways my anxiety has manifested over the past few days.

I left for work on Friday morning with my father-in-law beginning to pull things off my dining room shelf. I was appreciative, but apprehensive. After all we had no real plan at this point. We just needed help. There's no way to pack and take care of two small children. One child that can't do anything for himself and one that won't are a full time job. It's enough to get through the day with them both fed, clothed and somewhat happy. So, I didn't really know why I felt so... I don't know, anxious.

When I came home to the empty shelves and things taken off the walls in my bedroom the pangs of sadness came. The realization that this is really happening finally showed up. I can no longer be in denial about this theoretical move we have chosen to make. And so it has begun. The up-ending of our lives. 

We worked so hard to get our house ready and then just like that we have to take it all down. Remove all the bits of our lives from the walls, the drawers, the closets. We have to box it all up and store it somewhere. At one point on Saturday, I had just had it and just started putting things away - in drawers - in the trash. The kitchen felt so cluttered with things that I just had to move them...somewhere.. ANYWHERE but where they were! There was food, moving supplies, children, dogs, people, stuff everywhere and I felt like I was going to lose my mind. 

Then on Sunday, as my mother in law and I chatted, we talked about our houses and how we always wanted this or that or a place for this or a time to clean and make the house look nice. We talked about how it always felt like a constant battle. Then she said something that I won't forget. She told me a story of how Saturdays were her cleaning days as a child. She had a working mother, she was a working mother, and that's just what you did. Everyone gets their chores and when you are done you can play, swim, sleep over, whatever. Then she said, one day when her children were young, she looked outside on a day like today. The sun was shining and with the house still a mess she told them to grab their swim suits and a towel and they just went swimming. So, maybe her house wasn't always clean and maybe she had a constant basket of unmatched socks but kids are only kids once and not for every long and Saturdays are for swimming. 

So in the midst of all of this, there will be memories that we'll remember more than the mess. There will be the afternoon that we watched our neighbors build a float for the St. Paddy's Day Parade. There will be all the times we just walked around the block and maybe I'll remember how I threatened the dog's life for running in the house soaked in mud, but instead I hope I'll remember in the middle of this mess, my baby's smile that lit up when his Poppie walked into the room and how they sat every day on our front porch swing [of our old house] and bonded, solidifying their relationship forever. I hope I remember, and they remember mommy and daddy being there. Yes they will remember the projects and the things we have to do, like chores, but instead of focusing on the mess, I hope we can all focus on the memories. Especially, the ones we've made here in our first home all together.

So, I'm choosing tonight to not see the empty walls, the tracked in mud, the constant uncovering of more dog hair to be swept, but the beauty of my family and our adventures together

I'm choosing to see our mess as our beautiful mess. 

Where have you seen beauty in the unexpected lately? I love to hear your story in the comments. 

Isn't it funny how something like a broom can inspire such beauty. Watch the video from  O-Ceder Angler and be inspired to make beauty from life's messes! Then check out the giveaway from O-Cedar. Have a beautiful week friends!

Shamrock Shake with Almond Milk and Nestle Toll House DelightFulls!

Thanks to Nestle Toll House for sponsoring today's Shamrock Shake Recipe! 

Have I ever told y'all how big of a fan I am of Mint Chocolate? I mean chocolate mint cookies are like whoa and then there's Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream and now there's this Shamrock Shake thing that people go nuts over! Then I heard about these Dark Chocolate Mint Nestle Toll House DelightFulls! They are dark chocolate with a little burst of mint right in the middle of the morsel. I might be eating too many of them straight out of the package. The caramel ones too! 

Anyway, when I think of Mint and Green and Spring I think St Patty's Day! It's kind of a big deal around here. Here in little ole Jackson, Mississippi we have one of the biggest St. Patrick's Day Parades in the Country also known as The Green Mardi Gras. It's technical name is Mal's St. Paddy's Day Parade, Google it. Trust me. 

You know something's become more than just an event when around it springs up an entire culture. The parade gives people an opportunity to express themselves in ways they can't otherwise, and over the years they have taken advantage of it in ways outlandish and creative and wonderful. From the O'Tux Society to the Krewe of Kazoo, Alabama Shakes to The Rude Men, the parade's been the epicenter for social and parading clubs too numerous to list. from

St. Patrick's day is kind of like Spring making her grand entrance! Spring break has passed and we are full on ready for warm weather. Which of course brings back the longing for cool treats like ice cream shakes. So, I decided to try out any EASY way to make this minty chocolatey shake that takes me back in time and leaves me longing for Spring to finally stick around!

Author's Note:  I chose to use Almond Milk and Almond Milk Frozen Dessert because I like them and we typically buy Almond Milk to drink. This can be made exactly the same with any kind of Ice Cream and your favorite milk. This shake is not meant to be dairy free. 

Almond Milk Mint Chocolate Shamrock Shake

  1. Finely Chop (I used my Ninja) Nestle Toll House DelightFulls Dark Chocolate Morsels with Mint Filling. Set Aside

  2. In a blender, add 1 pint Almond Milk Frozen Dessert or Ice Cream and about 1/4 cup Almond Milk, gradually adding more until you get the shake consistency you like!

  3. For a green color add 2 drops of green food coloring and blend - add more if you wish it to be a more bold color (or skip this step entirely if you don't want it green).

  4. Add 1 drop of Mint Extract to make your shake extra minty!

  5. Last, add your Nestle Toll House DelightFulls Dark Chocolate Morsels with Mint Filling and pulse ONLY once or twice. You do not want it to blend the morsels just mix them in!

This is such a treat! Show me your recipes and enter to win a Target gift card so you can get to baking! If you include Nestle Toll House DelightFulls (which you totally should) show it to me by using #delgihtfulls or leave a link in the comments! 

$15 Target Gift Card Giveaway!

Catch the Moment 365 | 2015 | Week 10

Happy Friday the 13th everyone! I will be back this evening with my complete set of photos from this week, but thought I'd leave a little blue-eyed boy for you in the mean time! 

It's been a super busy week around here! Check out some of the posts I've been working on this week: Creating Spring // Ezra's 5 Month Update // Berry Dark Chocolate Trifle // Hardwood Floor Cleaning Tips // The Really Really Good Parts of Having a 3 Year Old  and this afternoon I have a post Shamrock Shake recipe going live made with these yummies

Spring Porch Decor with Monrovia Plants!

Today’s post is sponsored by Monrovia, but my love for their plants is all my own! #gardening

One of the things I'll miss most about our Belhaven house is the ever blooming garden. Is it crazy to ask the new owners if I can give them a yard tour and make them carry a pen and paper? Years and years ago, the owners of our home planted so that in every season, there would be something in bloom. The first year we lived here it was like discovering something new each time the weather changed. Even in the winter months, hello Camellias.

So, even though our new house has been landscaped, it doesn't have the same history and growth that I love so much about our old house and our neighborhood. Which is kind of sad. However, because we won't be constantly working on something that's broken, I'm hoping to spend even more time gardening! I look forward to every spring and plan what I can do to make the house pop a little more...within my budget of course.

A place I love to add a little Spring color is our front porch. So, while I wait on the never ending rain to stop and the Monrovia Hydrangeas to show up at Lowes, I thought I'd bring spring to us by adding some water wise color to our front porch and make it my mini garden!


I chose these bright colorful Festival Gerber Daisies because they have these large bright blooms that we will get to enjoy from Spring to Fall. 

I also decided on these beauties because I can keep them in pots now and when we finally get to the new house I can transplant them into the ground if I want! They attract butterflies but are deer resistant (which may actually be a problem where we are moving) and they are water-wise. Right now, in the small pots under the covered porch I'll have to show them extra care and make sure they get enough sunlight and water, but once they are incorporated into the landscape at our new home they actually require less watering - so they'll last through the dry hot Mississippi Summer. 



If you are CRAVING Spring like me, I strongly encourage you to check out what Monrovia has to offer in your area. You can find out which Zone you are in if you don't already know and choose plants based on your needs and your budget. How awesome is that? You can even order plants and just pick them up at your local nursery - all right on their website. I cannot wait until the new Hydrangeas are available! It just lifts my mood so much! How many times have I said Hydrangeas are my favorite?

Tell me do you have a green thumb and enjoy gardening?