I am SO glad you found me! Let me introduce myself.
My name is Alyssa Darby and I am a 30-something military wife and the mommy of two energetic little boys. We are currently stationed in Arkansas (but we were in North Carolina for almost 6 years!).
There are so many words that could be used to describe me: artsy, creative, mom, foodie, Christian, quirky. Let me discuss a few below so you can get to know the “blogger behind the blog” a little better (including some about my awesome family).
*Text minimally updated in 2021, along with some images.
Below is a pretty detailed synopsis of who I am and about my family, but if you want to stay up-to-date with our family, be sure to follow me on Instagram where I share exclusive snippets of our life and sign up for my newsletter where you’ll be informed of new posts and each week I try to share a little about what has gone on since the last newsletter.
Above all, I am a Christian (saved by grace; I do not use this term loosely.). As a way to protect my testimony, I keep my Christian morals on my website which means I steer clear of words that are not generally tasteful for all ages, my posts are honest (which means I won’t gush over a product I don’t love or share things against my beliefs), and I seek to provide high-quality and family-friendly content. (If you ever see ads pop up that are not tasteful, please let me know! “Bad” ads are supposed to be blocked.)
You may notice that I have used some alcohol in recipes or that I have tattoos. Yes, I am still a Christian. I make it my goal to show true, biblical Christian living, not based off of religious ritual, Pastor opinion, or legalism, but based off of the actual Bible through heavy research. I am a rule-follower at heart, so I will only do things that I have researched and prayed about heavily and truly feel are biblical.
I also have shared a couple children’s devotionals (actually one is my most popular post) and plan to work on more soon!
Wife & Military Spouse
This could also fall under the word “blessed.” I am blessed to have an amazing husband of 11 years who is always there for me, through all of the struggles and triumphs. We met in college at Bob Jones University and had a long-distance relationship (which I supposed prepared us a little bit for military life.) He is in the Air Force and I am so proud of him and happy to stand behind him.
I may not love military life, but I take it as an opportunity to reach out to others I know who are going through the same thing. Supporting fellow military families is important to me, so I try to share military resources when I can.
Besides serving our country, he also is a huge help at home with the kids and the chores. Oh, and he is a great help when I need pictures taken for Instagram or pictures of myself for the blog…even if it’s not his favorite thing to do. PS, he’s a certified mechanic and an awesome handyman, so watch for posts he helps me with for tackling automotive and household tasks yourself!
If you look along my website, you will discover that I struggle with infertility. Our oldest son, E, (now 10) was a surprise and our youngest son, S, (now 7) we were blessed with after the help of medicine. This time around, nothing is working, so we are waiting and praying for another little one soon as we would love a big family. Our youngest was born while Daddy was serving overseas. They first met when S was 3 months old. S was not one prone to spitting up, but he saved a nice one for the first time Daddy held him (had to make that moment extra special, right?).
My boys are both very smart and very energetic. Both are gifted, but they have some struggles that we are working through with therapy and at-home activities—speech, occupational, physical, behavioral, ADHD, and executive functioning—some of which I will write about as a resource.
E is currently going through occupational therapy for motor skills and to work on focus as he has some ADHD tendencies. Besides this, he is a LEGO MASTER. Hand him anything, and he can build something very intricate with moving parts, trap doors, and details you would never have thought of. He surprises me every day with his creativity and engineering skills. He also is great at math and is somewhat teaching himself to read off of basic principles we’ve gone over. He soaks in everything, and the knowledge he has about the most random things would surprise you for his age (for instance–when you blow your nose, he will tell you your nose is a filter and it is collecting dirt and germs from the air and getting rid of them in boogers.). You can tell he’s my boy, because he always has something quippy to say and he always has to be doing something. E also knows pretty much everything about Star Wars including what songs come from which movies and where each episode is set (he has really only watched them a couple times each with Daddy.). I picture him running track–he is incredibly fast and loves to run.
S is currently going through occupational therapy (both boys have graduated speech and physical therapy, though we are doing reevaluations). He is constantly bouncing off the walls without care of consequences (he once climbed into the stuffed animal net that was hanging from the ceiling; not sure how he got up there, but we took that down right away.). If he wants something, he will find a way to get it. This sometimes means he will stack things up to reach things on the top shelf in the closet–he can get very innovative. He is a genius…literally (he was diagnosed), but he has some struggles with focus and boredom and knowing how to work situations to get his own way (like playing instead of finishing school work). He is so creative and will occasionally type stories, but he really doesn’t like writing on paper when asked. I picture him playing baseball or football someday–this boy has a strong arm and great aim!
That’s right. I’m me. What do I mean by this exactly? I am unique. Quirky. One-of-a-kind. There is no single hobby that I just love so much I put all my focus there; I am actually rather scatterbrained and love that my blog allows me to hop around to different things I love as I regain interest–cooking, crafting, drawing, writing.
Would you believe that my family back home has a hard time believing I actually cook? Growing up, I really only messed with a few things in the kitchen. While I always loved experimenting, I didn’t do much to help with meals, so when I showed them my website and some of the food I’ve created, they were very surprised. I don’t get to cook all the time (due to health and the fact I hate the clean-up), one of my passions is creating unique and fun foods for the family to enjoy.
Some of my favorites to date are my Frozen Strawberry Cheesecake Bites (made with baby cereal), Shortbread Cookies (made with mashed potatoes), and Quick and Simple Lemon Pastries (because they’re so stinkin’ easy to make). I also love creating fun “crafty food” with the kids (like my Frog on a Log in a Bog Breakfast).
One thing I do all the time is doodle. This is something that allows me to express my creativity while reducing some stress (even more than coloring them in.) I doodle a lot when I’m supposed to be paying attention (when I took classes, and in church as I take notes) because it actually helps me to retain information better. To put this to good use, I have been offering free coloring pages and am working on some coloring books I plan to launch soon!
I also love to paint and may or may not have a ridiculous amount of canvases that I or a combination of my boys/husband and I painted. I suppose music is an art as well, so I will share here that I play the flute and love to sing and write music! I have dabbled in other instruments as well (piano, guitar, french horn, piccolo…) and would love to do more with this on my site some day. My husband plays the violin too, and he’s awesome (and needs to teach me).
Whether it is a DIY project for the home or small crafts with the kids, I love creating pieces that are educational or can be displayed in the home. My husband helps me create my bigger ideas while I plan a lot of smaller crafts to do with my boys to teach things like reading, colors, and math. I used to do cake decorating too, so I share decorating ideas and will hopefully be able to share some tricks and tips via video/webinar at some point.
Growing up, I always wanted to be an interior designer. I was obsessed with watching shows like Trading Spaces and studying design books. While I ended up changing to another focus, I love bringing some of my home design passion onto my site with things like my Patio Makeover and home decorating tips. As a military family, it can be difficult to do much for your decor (financially and the fact that you could move at any time), but I love sharing quick ways to make your house a home that shows your personality.
On my birthday in 2019, we purchased our first home. We have been doing so many renovations since, and it is looking amazing. Our renovations were set back quite a bit when my husband was sent on multiple trainings and a deployment (that he was on over 2 months longer than planned thanks to COVID…he was supposed to come back right when they stopped movement), but thankfully I am handy and was able to tackle many large projects (like building a pantry and tiling the entryway) all on my own before he returned!
I love doing activities with the kids when I have energy to. We do activities that help me out (like this laundry hack game) and activities that offer hands-on education like going to the planetarium or wearing pilot outfits and checking out the jets on our base then learning more about each.
While I do not have a college degree (my choice), I did do two years of college. My first year was at Bob Jones University where I met my husband (who would not leave me alone–I’m thankful for his persistence.). I studied humanities with apparel design at first, then switched to apparel design with business. I also studied Chinese for the fun of it (I’ve studied Japanese, French, Spanish, German, Italian, and ASL as well, but am not fluent in any–yet.) After that year, I decided to change things up for financial reasons and went to a community college back home (Wisconsin) where I studied business management then marketing with a minor in graphic design. I dropped out by choice when I got pregnant with E and decided to stay home with him. I may go back once the kids are older and study nutrition.
Not my education, but I am actually a teacher! I have been homeschooling my boys for many years now (from the very start). We are finishing up grades 5 and 2, and my boys have grown and learned so much, met so many people and done so many amazing things through homeschooling, and we have gotten through some really tough times by allowing school breaks and working more at a later point to “catch up.” I am so thankful for it.
Truth be told, I have only had one *actual* job. In high school and college, I was a Beauty Advisor for Walgreens. Funny story–I never quit and was never fired. I just went inactive. Direct Sales is something I also dabbled in–Mary Kay and Usborne Books & More. I have discovered these are not for me. Now I love being self-employed with my website (only me here for now!), printables (I sell in on my Arts & Crackers store), occasional crafts and services, merch on Amazon, and the coloring book I published. I also have a small delivery business I have wanted to open for many years; I hope to some day, but I may have to start it and delegate every task immediately.
I am extremely shy. You probably weren’t expecting that, as I love planning parties and run a blog that requires interacting with others and participating in social media and even sharing YouTube videos all the time and I tend to be wordy, but I really am shy. You could call me “socially awkward” I suppose. This is not something I talk about much, but I am actually getting checked to see if I may have a high-functioning form of autism. In spite of this, I know my weaknesses and will push myself to interact with others and do things out of my comfort zone, like going on a press event to NYC (but some days I don’t have the energy to deal with it, so I become introverted.).
I am actually Autistic and have overcome (or continue to work through) many learning disabilities. I never gave myself much credit for this and tend to talk down about myself (I know, I know, I shouldn’t), but I had a breakthrough recently when I wrote a list of all my character qualities and struggles and physically saw how much I’ve actually overcome—for each diagnosis and disability I have an equal and opposite ability, whether from natural personality, a well-rounded childhood, or much hard work and determinations. I encourage you to do the same. I cannot express how much it helped me.
Another big thing about my personality is that I am a goof. For whatever reason, I cannot stop the puns and “Dumb Dad Jokes” (which I call “Marvelous Mom Jokes”). I tend to have no filter when it comes to my puns and jokes, in the fact that I will say them when they pop in my head, in spite of my shy, quiet personality. I love making people laugh. My sweet friend, who comes to me when she needs help thinking of unique and “punny” ideas, put it in a great way when she said, “I don’t know how your brain works, but I like it.”
This is something else I do not usually tell everyone, but as things progress I realize that I can hopefully be a resource to others going through things like I am. Medically, I am a mess. You already know I struggle with fertility (PCOS), but I also have chronic migraines (those daith piercings actually do work some for me, as I have them less frequently.) Besides the migraines and infertility, I am working to have several other health problems diagnosed. I have an appointment set up to better discover which autoimmune disorders I have, as I have tested positive on multiple tests. It is likely I have Lupus and Fibromyalgia among others, though the process of doctor approvals and getting them to do tests is slow-moving. I am always in pain, have horrible brain fog, and can hardy remember things past the last day or two at times, but I keep a notebook and planner handy at all times in an attempt to stay on top of things. Sometimes this makes blogging (and motherhood and adult life in general) very difficult as I physically and mentally can’t do anything, but I constantly push myself to provide you with some great, hopefully very useful content!
Some day I would love to have a farmhouse with a lot of land, a cow, a goat, some chickens, a big garden, a pond, and be able to be almost completely self-sufficient. This may seem like a stretch with my health and our current situation, but that’s what dreams are for, right? I love wide open spaces and the idea of providing mostly for ourselves and teaching our kids how to grow food, fish, and care for the earth God has given us while spending less money doing so. I would also love to open up a business or two with my husband (one that I would delegate and one that is more of a casual, crafty thing).
Through all of our struggles, God is good all the time. I love the opportunity to stay home with my children, the chance to run this blog and share my ideas while making some extra income to be able to buy a house some day, and I love all the quirky abilities God has given to me.