Chiropractic Care Can Relieve Stress

The eye twitch was driving me crazy. Not only was it driving me crazy, I looked crazy with the eye twitch. I’d been dealing with it for over two weeks and no amount of deep breathing or “relaxation” made it stop. The only time it came in handy was when I asked the kids to clean. “Go clean your playroom…or else,” *insert creepy and threatening eye twitch*. Regardless of the power that the twitch might have held, it needed to go and so I headed to the chiropractor.

I tend to hold a lot of my stress in my neck and shoulders. Having a chiropractor that is trained in adjusting the atlas has made a big difference for me! She can tell if my atlas is out just by looking at my legs and feet. There have been a few times that one leg was shorter than the other, up to a quarter of an inch! Just imagine all the extra pressure that was being put on the other side of my body to try and support the shortened leg!

Breathing some fresh air while looking at the pasture.

At my initial appointment, before my first adjustment, they took pictures of my stance. I was leaning to one side and also forward in my natural and relaxed stance. Yikes! I was also suffering from extreme vertigo. The world felt like it was spinning, even when I was sitting or lying down. When I would go run errands I was always nervous that I would accidentally fall over! That stress also made it feel like someone was pushing down on my shoulders. Remember how I mentioned that I tend to store stress in my neck and shoulders? All the added worry was a cycle that I couldn’t break on my own. It turned in to a physical ailment.

Allopathic doctors probably would have recommended a pill for the vertigo. The goal being to reduce inflammation or any fluid build up. As you know, there are always side effects for long term usage of any medication. The more I can do through diet choices and chiropractic care, the better chance my body has at maintaining great health. I have upped my intake of minerals, omega 3s, vitamins, and have also begun taking probiotics. All of those things will assist my body in it’s daily functions. One of those functions being handling stress and we have all experienced some stress in our lives!

I have had immense benefit to my overall health from chiropractic care! If you want to locate a doctor who is trained in atlas adjustments, check out this helpful website. You can also make it a point to ask your chiropractor if they have studied atlas adjustments and if they use them in their practice. I’m so thankful for my chiropractor, all the years of study that she has gone through and her consistent attention to detail. She has blessed me greatly!

-Erin (Coffee Mama Bear)

P.S. Don’t forget to check out Part 1 of our Farmhouse Renovation! It has all our flooring, kitchen countertop, and the interior brick installation details!

Freedom can be found in Home-Schooling

I was nervous to start our first day of home school. I had butterflies in my stomach. I was tense. Could I teach kids at different learning levels at the same time? How would that not be distracting? Could I cover a variety of subjects all by myself? A good amount of freedom can be found in home-schooling and yet, I still put myself in a box. A box of other people’s unmentioned standards. The pressure from these imaginary home-school rule makers left me feeling ill-equipped. Then it hit me one afternoon, the only person putting unrealistic pressure on our home-school journey was me. No one was yelling at me to get it all perfect. It was my own thoughts that were skewing the view.

Reading time during home-school - Canva Image
Reading time during home-school – Canva Image

Honestly, my kids were so ready to absorb this time together. We were in need of connection after a crazy summer. In those first weeks of schooling we had some bumps in learning style, but I allowed us to pivot to a better method. We were using our new found home-school freedom! I started to see them thrive and we all found a groove in our Monday through Friday schedule. They have different motivators and I began making sure to use what I was learning from them. I had to make room for their voices in this process too.

My kids are blossoming now. I keep reminding myself that this is a special year for us all. That the freedom and time we have to dive into subjects might not always be available to us. We go head strong into the topics that they love and we work through the ones that challenge them. When my oldest sighs and gets discouraged at having to erase a wrong answer I usually reply, “They have an eraser at the end of every pencil for a reason, we all make mistakes. No one is perfect”.

We’ve had conversations about grace and how important it is to give grace to ourselves too. We have talked about failure and how it’s usually through our mistakes that we tend to learn the most. I have touted my amazing skills with erasers…and it’s only because I’ve had a lot of practice with them. Our breaks in the school day include jumping jacks, outside time, a snack, silly songs, learning games on the tablet, and free play. We have time for them to build forts, set up their own grocery store, play with play-doh, enjoy kinetic sand, and explore water coloring. We use a lot of these toys on this list during our play times!

I know that I’m not going to regret this one-on-one time with my kids. Other bumps in our home-school journey will come our way, I’m sure of it. The days are not perfect, but we get to do them together. And if I told you that doubts didn’t still come my way, I’d be lying. They do, but I know what I’ve been called to do and I will not back down from this task.

I try to remind myself that they won’t always be little. They won’t always want to jump in my lap every time I sit down to catch my breath before we tackle the next part of our day. This time is precious, tough, a challenge, a blessing, and a wild ride. To all who are in the home-school journey as well, I pray that God would continue to fill your cup. That you would find encouragement when you need it and that His unending grace and love would cover your family this season.

Erin aka Coffee Mama Bear

Perfect Cold Brew Coffee – Three Methods

You want a great cup, whether cold brew is your preferred drink of choice or you rotate to it during the hot summer months. Perfect cold brew coffee can be made at home! I purchased three different cold brew makers to review. The same coffee was used in all three makers, Oak Cliff Coffee Roaster’s Ronald Tunque, Peru. I used one cup coarse ground coffee and four cups of water in each brewer. They sat on my counter for twelve hours. Let’s get ready for a delicious caffeine rush!

These are the coffee makers & accessories I purchased:
Semko Cold Brew Coffee Maker
Bodum French Press
Coffee Sock Filter, 64oz Mason Jar, and Mason Jar Lid w/handle

The Semko is made from borosilicate glass, which makes this carafe a bit stronger than some of the other similar types available. The filter is easily removable, double-fine mesh, and made from stainless steel. I love the airtight seal too! This maker yielded the sweetest of the coffee notes. No bitter taste was found from the front or back notes. After 12 hours, the color was still light amber, so I’d leave it to brew for longer next time to make a stronger cup.

Semko Cold Brew Coffee Maker
Semko Cold Brew Coffee Maker

Next up for review is the trusty Bodum French Press! I know that the french press is a more common kitchen item, so I really wanted to know the results of this test. The French Press yielded the cup with the most bitter taste. I’m not saying that the French Press can’t work, but it needs some tweaking and some sweet milk! The color of the coffee was the darkest, so I’d start by reducing the amount of beans. I’d aim for a 1/2 cup of coarse ground coffee and stick with the 4 cups of water. Reducing the brew time would help too.

The Coffee Sock in a 64oz mason jar was a new experience for me! I do like that the filter is reusable and made from organic cotton. It was crafted in Austin, TX, and I love supporting a company from my home state! The Coffee Sock yielded a delightfully smooth cup and was lightly sweet. The coffee color was a medium amber and I would increase the amount of coffee grounds to water ratio. I like that I can make a big batch with the 64oz mason jar, as there was enough space to double the amount of coffee yielded. Perfect for making and sharing with friends and family.

The Coffee Sock, 64oz Mason Jar, and Lid with Handle
The Coffee Sock, 64oz Mason Jar, and Lid with Handle

One thing for sure it that I’ll be drinking lots of cold brew coffee this summer! I enjoyed the Semko and the Coffee Sock the best. I will be adjusting brew time and coffee to water ratios for both makers. I’ll update here with those findings! I loved the sweetness of the roast from OCCR. It had notes of apples, pistachio, and brown sugar. Milk or sugar is optional with such a delicious roast!

Until next time, may your coffee be perfect and life just as sweet.
– Erin

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$25 and Under Toys to Keep the Kids Busy because Your Sanity Depends on It

They’ve seen my face for MONTHS ON END. No other people have been able to keep them occupied. I need the things, all the things, to keep them busy! I’ve compiled a list of indoor and outdoor items that you can find for $25 or less on amazon! Target age range for these items are ages 3-10. These can be shipped to your door rather QUICKLY. Hooray for sanity savers!

Summer Indoor and Outdoor Toys for Kids!
Summer Collection of Indoor & Outdoor Toys for Kids

Outdoor Fun – Water Play & More

Indoor Fun – Creative & Hands-On Toys

While the kids are busy, you’ll have some time for a much needed relaxation moment. Check out my post about Coffee Klatch Boards for a great treat to pair with your coffee time! Super easy to put together and the kids will be able to satisfy their snack cravings easily too, all while you enjoy drinking your coffee to the last drop.

Happy Days of Summer, Y’all!
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The girls enjoying all things summer with popsicles in the shade.
The girls enjoying all things summer with popsicles in the shade.

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Ready-to-eat Gluten Free and Dairy Free Foods

Every time I pass through the gluten free section or I spot a specialty item among the “normal” food selections…I PUT IT IN THE CART. How will I know if it’s delicious or not, if I don’t risk it and eat it? I need all the gluten free options I can for my family! I’ve encountered my fair share of duds. The kind of stuff that is too dry (had to save my oldest kid…she literally choked), too bland, not anywhere close to the flavor mentioned on the bag, or it completely falls apart upon the first bite.

Dairy Free Cheesecake
Dairy-Free Cheesecake from Daiya

Another reason for the grocery store hunt is that I needed food items to send with my kid to school. I can’t bake cookies on short notice, but I don’t want her to miss out! Cookie party…send delicious cookies, must be nut free too. Ice cream day…send delicious dessert alternative. I’ve had reports back from my kid that her friends were eyeing her awesome gluten free food!

We’ve got some winners to showcase! Here is our taste-tested list of gluten free and/or dairy free items for you to be on the lookout for at your local grocery store. We’re sticking to the items that are on the store shelf and ready to eat. No cooking or baking needed. I’ll have a list up soon on some great gluten free items for cooking or baking at home!

Gluten Free Breads:
Schär’s Artisan Baker White Bread – Fluffy, the crust isn’t dry, and it’s dairy free too! The best places to purchase it cheaper are Sprouts, Walmart, Central Market, or Costco (call to see which warehouse has in stock). If you need to purchase it online try here.
Schär’s Gluten Free Ciabatta Rolls – For an elevated sandwich experience, I like to use these ciabatta rolls. I also bring these out during the holidays and use them as rolls. Excellent when warmed or toasted, just add your favorite spread! For online purchase, find it here.
Udi’s Soft White Sandwich Bread – This is also available in multigrain. A soft, but thicker bread slice, as it contains egg. You can find these in the frozen foods section and that’s why I like this option. Look for these at Target and Whole Foods.

Gluten Free Snacks & Chips:
Lance’s Peanut Butter Crackers – Target has these available and we love these for a great protein packed snack. Their snack crackers are great too! They have a bit of a buttery taste. For online purchase, find them here.
Snyder’s of Hanover Pretzels – The best pretzel option that we have found! It doesn’t feel like my tooth is going to break when I eat these! I like that they have the traditional pretzel shape and the sticks. Whole Foods, Target, and Amazon are some places you can buy.
The Good Crisp Company – The tastiest option for the chips that come in a can…this one is amazing! We’ve had the “original” and the “sour cream & onion”, both have been winners. I have found these at Whole Foods and for bulk order on Amazon.
Pamela’s Whenever Bars – A good friend introduced me to these several years ago. We love the “oat chocolate chip coconut” and the “oat raisin walnut spice”. I have found these at Walmart, Sprouts, and Kroger. For online purchase, find it here.
Kind Snacks – Some bars from this brand are a bit tough to eat, but we found a great one after trying several of their options. Their line of “Healthy Grains Granola Bars” are delicious. Our favorites are “dark chocolate chunk” and “peanut butter dark chocolate”.
Milton’s Craft Bakers, Crispy Sea Salt Bake Crackers – The best dip chip we have found! It can handle salsa, spinach artichoke dip, and queso. We’ve served these at several parties and our guests love them too! Whole Foods, Market Street, and Amazon are great places to find them.
Food Should Taste Good Multigrain Tortilla Chips – Salty, crispy, crunchy. I’m bulk ordering these from Amazon. They are a staple in our house!

Gluten Free Fudge Striped Cookie from Goodie Girl
Gluten Free Fudge Striped Cookies from Goodie Girl

Gluten Free Sweets:
Kinnikinnick Vanilla Wafers – My childhood cookie favorite is vanilla wafers, so finding these were special! They are nut free, dairy free, and soy free too.
Goodie Girl Fudge Striped Cookies – Oh my goodness, these are delicious. A family favorite for us! Their “Birthday Cake” cookies are flippin amazing and we love the “Magical Animal Crackers” too.
Sheila G’s Brownie Brittle – We use these when we make s’mores! It’s got a great crisp and the chocolate is already baked in, so they are perfect for pairing with your roasted marshmallows. I found these at Walmart and on Amazon.
Emmy’s Organics, Coconut Cookies, Vanilla Bean – We always have some of these in our pantry. Great for snacking and perfect with my afternoon coffee! The kids like them too!

Gluten Free Frozen Sweets:
Katz Donuts – We like the “glazed” and the “pumpkin pie spiced glazed” (seasonal). They have donut holes available too. These satisfy my donut craving! They are along the lines of the cake donut you find in donut shops.
So Delicious Ice Cream – Three words… “Salted Caramel Cluster”! My favorite dairy-free ice cream. It’s made from cashew milk. Their chocolate dipped ice cream bars are amazing too!
So Delicious Vanilla Bean Sandwiches – My Dad always had chocolate ice cream sandwiches in the freezer, so these spark fond memories for me! My kids love these too and they are made from coconut milk.
Daiya Cheezecake – This is really wonderful and very delicious! The cake is definitely smaller than a typical cheesecake size, but that’s also a benefit because you’ll want to eat it all. I pair it with fruit and coffee. The kids love this cheesecake too! They also have key lime, chocolate, and strawberry flavors available.

I hope that you’re able to pick up some of these yummy items soon! I’ve linked all of them in the post, so you can see their packaging. I know it’s easier for me when I know exactly what I’m supposed to be on the lookout for in the aisles! Many of the company’s websites also have an option where you can enter your zip code to find a store near you that would carry their products.

Wishing you happy eating and a full cup of warm coffee that you didn’t have to reheat three times before enjoying!
-Erin aka Coffee Mama Bear

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Coffee Mama Bear with a Chemex Coffeemaker
Coffee Mama Bear with a Chemex Coffeemaker

Farmhouse Renovation – All the Details (Part 1)

We’re almost done with the contract work for our farmhouse renovation! That doesn’t mean that we are done with all the work, but it’s a great leap forward towards finishing it out. My husband, Michael, has been building his specialty tool collection in the garage over the last 8 years! They’ll all come in handy for our upcoming projects. My handyman skills are small, but helpful. I like sanding and painting. Michael doesn’t like painting and he “tolerates” sanding…The Lord paired us well!
More “Before” images can be found here.

Our "before" images of the farmhouse renovation.
Our “before” images of the farmhouse renovation.

We were immediately drawn to the tall ceilings and the awesome beams currently installed in the living room and the breakfast nook. In the first stage of renovations, we hired an engineer to determine if removing the inner walls of the kitchen area were a possibility. Luckily, they were! A 22ft steel beam was installed as well as a 10 ft cross beam. The 22ft beam runs from the foyer all the way to the outer kitchen wall. We also had to have those electrical cords hanging down rerouted in the process.

22ft Header and 10 ft Cross Beam in the Kitchen
22ft Header & 10ft Cross Beam in the Kitchen

There were two surprises that happened during this reno stage. We found out that during a previous renovation they had capped off some existing plumbing lines from when the design was a galley style kitchen. They were still above ground, so we had to hire a plumber who spent two days drilling and fixing the issue before we could move on to flooring installation. The other surprise was a happy one in that the fur-downs/soffits above the kitchen cabinets could be removed! We did not have the option to raise the ceiling in the kitchen area because of the placement of the headers, so this was the next best thing in order to make the kitchen appear more open.

Plumbing Issue & Fur-down Removal
Plumbing Issue & Fur-Down Removal

Besides our kitchen renovation, we wanted to update and add character to the foyer area. The paneling was removed from the main wall. We also decided to add brick columns and two arches to make it a large design element. A lot of thought went into the column size, what worked for the space, where electrical would be located, and that was all before we even selected the brick!

The foyer during the renovation process.
The foyer during the renovation process.

It took a few weeks to select our targeted look for the design details. We scoured previous decor magazines that I had collected over the years, like Southern Living, and we browsed Pinterest too. We pulled together elements that leaned on farmhouse and french country styles. Our main desire when picking out the details were items that encourage comfort, not chaos. As we move forward in selecting furniture, in the upcoming months, we’ll be sticking with those themes as well!

Our flooring selection, which was the design detail we chose first, we went with “Walnut Brook CW98” from American Olean‘s Creekwood Collection. We made sure to choose a wood-look tile made out of porcelain, as ceramic has a tendency to chip easily. Our kids and the dog are a rough and tumble bunch, so we needed to choose a flooring that could handle them!

Truffle grout color from Mapei
Truffle grout color from Mapei

If you ever want to go with wood-look tile, I have this important tip for you when selecting grout color. Find the grout that matches your selection exactly and then choose the color that is one step darker. This will provide a more shadowy look and help provide more realism to the wood-look tile upon install. We went with Mapei‘s “Truffle” grout color.

If you hate making decisions, picking out brick will be your worst nightmare! We had a great idea of what we wanted, but it still took the entire hour allotted to comb through the giant warehouse of a showroom to narrow it down. We went with “Old Hard Tan” from Old Texas Brick. I also carried a piece of our flooring with us the entire day as we were off to pick out the kitchen island slab after lunch. I would highly recommend bringing any tile, flooring, or other textile samples with you when going through the selection process!

Old Hard Tan Brick Sample from the Warehouse
Old Hard Tan Brick Sample from the Warehouse

The slab yard was so fun to visit! The guy in charge showed us all the options available for white slabs with veining. I made a selection and they kindly brought a truck over to turn it around so I could see the whole piece. I loved this veining and the color worked well with our flooring sample. We chose “Bianco Venatino Quartz Polished” from Everest Stone.

Bianco Venatino Quartz Polished, from Everest Stone
Bianco Venatino Quartz Polished, from Everest Stone

We’ll get in to more of the nitty gritty kitchen selections for paint, cabinet color, and exactly what we’re doing with the paneling left in the breakfast nook in my next post! We’ve got a lot of detail work ahead of us. Until next time, keep your chin up and may your coffee cup be full!
-Erin aka Coffee Mama Bear

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Spring Season Gift Giving Finds!

Let’s gift some love to your girlfriends, family members, and the other awesome ladies in your life! Below is a spring time themed gift guide. Whether it’s a gift for their birthday, a celebration, Mother’s Day, or “just because”, you can find something to make their day a little brighter! I love supporting artisans, small businesses, and fair trade sources, so you won’t find these items in a local big box store. Don’t forget to plan for a bit of extra time on shipping for anything you want to customize!

Field of Daisies
Field of Daisies

Spring Time Gift Guide

Something to Wear
Lightweight & Light Pink Scarf – Perfect for spring outfits!
Ginkgo Print Viscose Scarf – Black and white print, easy to match.
Dandelion Silhouette T-Shirt – This is on my list to purchase for myself!
“God is Within Her, She Will Not Fall” T-shirt – Uplifting and sweet.
Bow & Straw Bucket Hat – So cute, I love the style on this one.
Short Brim Straw Hat – Black ribbon and versatile style.

Something Fancy
Flying Bee Barrette – A sweet look for a half-up-half-down look or a bun.
Sunflower Bracelet – Great price, lovely color.
Teardrop Turquoise Fringe Earrings – Lightweight and supports women.
Rose Gold Starfish Project Bracelet – Unique piece, that supports a cause!
Mustard Seed & Baby’s Breath Necklace – Memorable item, special significance to the receiver.
Mother of Pearl Bracelet – Perfect staple piece of jewelry, gold or silver
Spring Colors Lava Beads Bracelet – Great Price. Supports women in Kenya.
Moonstone Necklace – Customizable stone, chain type, and length.

Something to Decorate With
Lavender Watercolor with Frame – A beautiful piece of art, sure to delight.
“He is Risen” Sign – Simple and gorgeous decor item. Write a sweet message on the back for that extra touch of love.
Farmhouse Inspired Spring Wreath – I totally want this for my front door!
Texas Bluebonnet Print – Can be printed on so many mediums like wood, paper, an apron, cotton towel, etc.
Spring Pillowcase – Great for anyone who loves switching out their pillows with the seasons. Remember to buy the pillow insert!

Something Useful & Pretty
Semi-circle Tote Rain-Drop – Affordable and cute print.
Lightweight Navy & Cream Throw Blanket – Gorgeous blanket to welcome spring! Supports women in Ethiopia.
Yellow Roses Mug – Yellow Roses mean “Friendship”.
Dandelion Print Pleated Bag – Love the print
Gardening Apron – She makes high quality items. Great stitching!
Gold Initial & Floral Mug – Lovely design on this mug.

Happy gift giving, friends!

Feel free to email me anytime
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Coffee Mama Bear
Coffee Mama Bear

Cup of Encouragement – Best Valentine’s Day Gifts for Coffee Lovers

 French Press and Coffee Cake

Coffee and love are a great pair. Choosing to give coffee as a token of your love…you just WON Valentine’s Day. Whether you are gifting to your mother, father, sister, brother, spouse, your child’s teacher, your neighbor, or your closest friend, coffee will be a delightful present. Unless, they ONLY drink tea, then you really need to reconsider your bond with each other. Kidding. Possibly. We’re still friends, Gina. Let’s get to the gifts you need for Valentine’s Day!

Time for an Upgrade! – Items for Their Daily Coffee Grind

Chemex Coffee Maker – This beautiful glass coffee maker is like giving a gift of art. Only, this piece of art makes coffee and they’ll love you even more because we all know handmade stick figure drawings can only be a present from your toddler now. The coffee does take a little longer to brew with this method, but they will end up with a nice smooth cup. Be sure to buy filters, either paper or a stainless steel mesh insert to go along with it.

French Press Coffee Maker – Another unique and beautiful way to make a cup of coffee is a french press. You can find them in various sizes too! One for home use, one for the office, and one for those times they host brunch, with you in attendance. You might need to write down that brunch hosting requirement in the card…

Aeropress Coffee Maker – Portable, easy to use, and makes a smooth cup. The Aeropress is perfect for the friend who wants a great cup of coffee, but also travels a lot! Also, a great option for people who have to live with other people who do not enjoy coffee…that’s a tough life…they really need this coffee maker. Show them some love. Maybe add in a hug.

Capresso Coffee Grinder – You will literally be elevating their daily grind with this coffee grinder. We have been using ours for years. The great part about this grinder is the settings. Whatever coffee maker they have at home (even keurig has a stainless mesh liner) they can grind the beans at the optimum setting for their maker.

Bodum Bistro Grinder – Going on Amazon reviews for this one, but I did run this through fakespot to make sure they are genuine. (Got a “B” rating.) Less expensive than the previous item on the list, this one also has grind settings. Maybe throw in a pun in your card for this one, “One gift that will help your daily grind be as fine as you. Keep it up, my honey boo.” Obviously, honey boo is optional.

Coffee Subscription

Coffee Subscriptions – They Will Love You

Apropos Roasters – Jennie-Mae is excellent at her craft. We have received beans from Kenya, Nicaragua, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Guatemala…all excellently roasted. You can purchase via Etsy listing and you can message to ask for a custom order. She also does wedding favors, talk about giving your guests an amazing gift…if I’d only known!

White Rock Coffee Roasters – You can buy online, in store, or even snag some of their blends at Central Market, but their subscriptions are where you can save. I’ve purchased several types of roasts from them and I enjoy the variety of flavors they offer! The House Blend or the Brazil Monte Cristo are excellent roasts to try.

Texas Coffee Club – A bunch of coffee, that Texans roast, and send your way within 24-48 hours after roasting and it’s all available to you via subscription! You can also pick all sorts of details – roast level, flavor, notes, whole or ground beans – and you can keep within a specific budget too. You’re sure to find something great to please your…I mean your Valentine’s…pallet.

Barba Coffee Co. – A family owned business, run by brothers, with their father’s nickname as their namesake (Barba means “beard” in Portuguese); this would be a great coffee subscription. They have a cool quiz for you to find your coffee personality (or that of your gift receiver)! You have options for how much coffee to send and how often you want it delivered. Be sure to tell them that Coffeemamabear sent you!

Coffee Apparel & More – They’ll Receive Compliments!

Women’s Coffee Shirts
“I love you a latte”
Coffee Heart
“But First, Coffee”
“Mama Needs Coffee”
“Coffee is My Love Language”

Men’s Coffee Shirts
“Powered by Coffee and Sarcasm”
Coffee Brewing Apparatus Diagram
Caffeine Molecule
Coffee Refill Code
“It’s 7am Somewhere”

Coffee Books & More
Craft Coffee: A Manual
Coffee Obsession Book
Chemex Cozy
Latte Earrings
Coffee Cup Necklace
Yeti Coffee Mug

I wish you luck and much love on your Valentine’s Day giving this year! If you are a coffee lover and need to send a not-so-subtle hint about what you want this year…be sure to forward this list! Feel free to email me with any questions or comments.

Mama Needs Coffee
Mama Needs Coffee

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Cup of Encouragement – We Bought a Farm

It’s been our dream for two years now. We wanted a house with some land and a workshop. Something not too far from the city, close enough to school, and still nearby friends and family. A tall order. Many “maybes” and failed attempts later…it has finally happened for us! We’re leaving the traditional suburban scene behind and moving in to a home with a couple of acres.


Our new neighbor, while leaning on the horse fence between our houses, has already promised to show us the ropes. We’re not too worried about this big change. We’re also loving the cowboy vibe. The country has already claimed us. If you need us we’ll be sitting underneath our giant oak tree with some hay sticking out of our mouths, while we whittle on a piece of wood from our mesquite tree.

Even though our littles were FULLY aware that moving was a possibility, they were still caught off guard when we told them about the new house. They have visited plenty of potential homes over that last couple years. We put down an offer on a cute place in July, but we weren’t able to secure it. Another house we saw along the way was quickly nixed because OH MY GOODNESS…it needed to be torn down. Water damage, cracks, broken everything, it was a giver of a house…with the issues. We felt defeated at several points during our house hunt.

I had driven by our new house before and I thought it was super cute, but we threw it out of the running for some reason. My husband was reluctant to visit it, but he agreed to it anyway. Long story short, he loved it, I proclaimed a “HALLELUJAH”, and it’s now ours.

We’ve been in the middle of renovation planning for about a month now. They needed an engineer to make the final call on whether our our kitchen dreams could be reality. We might reach for the moon sometimes y’all, but not without researching the heck out of it first! I know they are doing the right thing by making sure we aren’t about to make the house collapse, it has just taken up some time. Structural integrity, beams, moving this, that, and the other…they have got the plan down now. WE START TOMORROW.

Without further ado, here are some before photos of the areas being renovated! Side note: I want to know your thoughts on chickens and goats. Also, what is the coolest chicken coop you’ve ever seen?

Find renovation updates on my Instagram!

Cup of Encouragement – Grief and Coffee

Last Thanksgiving, I was not thankful. I did not want to look people in the eye, accept hugs, smile, or make small conversational chit chat. It took every ounce of self control to sit, make myself numb, and stare at the parade on TV. I wanted to scream. I needed to cry. I didn’t have a desire to eat anything. Turkey, mashed potatoes, and gravy were not going to make this better.

The day before Thanksgiving, I found myself staring a bright red blood. This was not supposed to happen, again. My plan for Thanksgiving day was to do my best to hide the secret that I was pregnant while hanging out with our family. I had already visited with a midwife and started planning what life was going to be like with a third baby. All my dreams broke that morning. My husband ran into the bathroom and hugged me, while I sobbed on the toilet.

I had my first miscarriage in 2015 and shortly after became pregnant again with Charlotte. Charlotte was born in the middle of some crazy times, but we praised the Lord for our rainbow baby. During the grief process, I felt a desire to name our baby that we lost. I chose the name Jesse. Jesse means “gift” and it was truly a gift to be able to hold Jesse in my womb, even if it was for a short time. My husband was the one to name our baby this time, our loss last Thanksgiving. Casey is the name he chose and it means “brave”. Casey would have been born this July.

Casey was a surprise baby, so we knew that Casey had an impression to make on our life, the details unknown to us at the time. Casey pushed me to be brave. This tiny, beautiful person, that I held in my womb for a short time. Just like I knew that my daughter, Charlotte, was going to be an opinionated brown haired girl…I knew that Casey was feisty. In the midst of this surprise we spoke to the Lord, “We will care for this child you have given us because we know that you have a purpose for this life.” God is the giver of life and He places great value on it, even in the womb.

Psalm 139:13-14 – ” For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.”

Job 33:4 – ” The Spirit of God has made me, And the breath of the Almighty gives me life.”

Grief had me in a place where I felt really lost. My brain and my heart were really overwhelmed. I eventually resigned from my wedding album design job and I rested for a couple months. It wasn’t easy for me to rest. I also didn’t have any direction, that’s what bothered me the most. I was very depleted creatively. I needed something that was mine, a project, and a happy outlet for myself. I signed up for Instagram in late April 2019. I still remember staring at the blinking cursor, trying to come up with my Instagram handle. I typed in “Coffeemamabear”. The two most important parts of my everyday.

I have had to wrap myself around the knowledge that I will never be the same. Grief always make a mark. When the girls were smaller I would count, “1…2…” while keeping track of them during shopping trips and even then I felt like I was still missing someone. There should have been another curly haired babe or two to include in the count.

Life is a gift, it is precious, and people fight by all sorts of means to keep it. I know that I really had no control over Jesse or Casey’s future. God knows the reason we lost them and I will never know it while on this earth. I have to rest in knowing that God’s plan is best. I have to place my trust in God. My family will just always feel a little incomplete, while we are here on this earth. I do hold on to this…it will be a sweet reunion for us all when we get to heaven.

Based on my experience with grief, I have figured this part out…grief is not some hill to quickly climb and conquer. Grief is the process of learning how to live with a hole in your heart. Someone can be happy and still be wrestling with grief. You can enjoy food, a sunset, time with friends, music, and still be wading through grief. Sometimes grief will hit at an inopportune time or show itself through anger, anxiety, depression, etc. I’ll end with this…The number one thing you can do at any stage of grief is to be gentle with yourself. Be kind in your self talk and do the best you can to be with people who are kind to you too.

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