Saturday, November 05, 2022


Beginner composting | On The Creek Blog //
The beginnings of a compost pile.

After watching one too many YouTube videos, I've really gotten into composting!

I didn't start composting for some grand reason; I simply think the idea is neat & if I can help the environment, then I'm all for it!

Before I started this adventure, I didn't know I had so many things to compost! Of course, I knew about food scraps & whatnot, but I didn't realize how much paper I could have been composting!

I wanted to start off small to see if composting is something I really wanted to do (spoiler: I love it!). I had a plastic tote already, so I cleaned it out & it became my little compost bin. 

I was hoping by using a container, bugs would stay out of it, but it didn't work out that way! We've had some warmer days & the bees definitely made an appearance!

I started my compost with some aged soil from my parents' composting pile. I happened to be making a lot of homemade applesauce & apple butter when I started composting, so the leftover peels & scraps became the first things in my bin.

Friday, October 14, 2022


My seed purchases for the 2023 gardening season! | On The Creek Blog //
My seed purchases for the 2023 gardening season!

It might be a little early to talk about the 2023 gardening season (especially since I still need to clear garden beds from the 2022 season!), but here I am.

I got an email this morning from my friends at Burpee & all of their seeds are currently buy one get one free! I couldn't pass that up, so I loaded my cart with everything!

I'd like to do a huge garden next year. I want to try all the varieties of everything!

I'm currently really into small-space gardening, so I got a lot of plants that can be grown in containers.

My current favorite pastime is watching gardening videos on YouTube. There are so many great ideas! 

Here's what I bought during the Burpee sale:

Thursday, September 08, 2022


15 Years | On The Creek Blog //
Our 15th wedding anniversary.

Today was our 15th wedding anniversary.

We were one of those cutesy couples who got married on 09.08.07.

I spent the day keeping myself busy, so I wouldn't have to think about our anniversary so much. Of course, it didn't work.

I can't help but wonder where we would be if James was still here.

Our "honeymoon" was an overnight trip to a small town in Maryland & we always talked about going back there. I wonder if this would have been the year. I remember we ate at this beautiful Italian restaurant in town.

Instead, I spent the day hiding from the fact that my life would never be the same. That the marriage & life James & I worked to build is gone.

Wednesday, September 07, 2022



Love What Matters | On The Creek Blog //

Details on our story that was published on Love What Matters.

I was surprised to receive a DM last week from Amanda at Love What Matters, inviting me to share our story.

Writing it all down again brought a lot of emotions back up. It's weird because I write about James & our journey all the time. I've become desensitized to a lot of what happened. I was surprised when the article contained a trigger warning. Maybe I'm still not far away from everything enough to see how terrible it was.

It will forever be one of those things I can't believe we went through. I can't believe how we all stayed calm through it all.

Until the night of the ER visit, I had only broken down once. Even when things looked terrible, there was always some glimmer of hope. We lived in a fantasyland where every red flag was ignored because there was yet another treatment. Though the diagnosis became terminal, options were still explored to prolong James's life.

Sometimes, all the medical interventions can't change the outcome.

There was so much more I could have written in the article. The amount of trauma packed into those 7 months is beyond measure. I never wanted to be someone who went through something traumatic.

Love What Matters | On The Creek Blog //

Tuesday, September 06, 2022



Tony | On The Creek Blog //
Remembering our sweet dog, Tony.

Our little Tony YorkiePoo passed away over the weekend.

He was 13 years old.

He came to us as a little fluff with a huge attitude & stayed that way his entire life.

He loved his squeaky toy & barking at the vacuum. Cleaning won't be the same without him!

Say hi to James & Rain for me.

Saturday, September 03, 2022

The day my world fell apart | On The Creek Blog //
The funny thing about life is that no one tells you what day your world starts falling apart.

I was going through some pictures on my phone when I came across this one. I didn't know it then, but my world was beginning to unravel.

September 3, 2021.

I don't know why I took this selfie. I'm guessing it was because the day was supposed to be full of excitement. James was doing testing in preparation for a clinical trial. We spent all day at the hospital, going back and forth between buildings, doing all the tests necessary to qualify James for the trial.

I was on my phone the entire time, looking at the test results. Everything came back fantastic.

The last day's test was an ultrasound of where James's tumor had been removed.

I remember anxiously waiting for the results on the ride home when they finally came through. Test results are challenging to decipher, but something about it didn't seem right.

Then, James got a call.

Saturday, August 13, 2022


James's Cancer Journey | On The Creek Blog //
One year ago today, James, my dad, & I sat in the surgical waiting room at Cleveland Clinic in preparation for James's tumor removal surgery.

There was so much hope that this would be James's saving grace & every treatment afterward would only have to be done out of caution instead of necessity. The whole cancer thing would be simply an insane memory in our lives.

As you know, things didn't work out that way. We didn't know then that the surgery only bought James more time.

When we saw James after the surgery, he remarked how he was so glad when he opened his eyes & was still alive.

The surgery was not simple; his tumor had doubled in size shortly before surgery. James also lost quite a bit of blood, so what was initially an outpatient procedure was a hospital stay.

We had no idea the worst was yet to come.

Throughout this entire ordeal, there was never a time when I ever gave up hope. It was hurdle after hurdle, but nothing that made me absolutely freak out. It was just something else we had to do to get James better.

Monday, August 01, 2022


summer garden update | On The Creek Blog //
 Summer garden update!

Here's a minor update on the garden.

My tomatoes & peppers are doing fantastic! I took these pictures a couple weeks ago & the garden is even crazier. It's challenging to get photos because there are vines everywhere!

I was super nervous about using raised beds because I never really had a lot of luck with raised beds in the past. In the past, the plants grew but not to incredible levels. I'm so glad the plants in this year's raised beds did so well.

I won't share all my growing secrets yet, but I think the soil was one of the most important things. My parents have a farm, so I could use their composted manure for the raised beds. The compost is super similar to the Wholly Cow Compost & Manure I used in the past. 

I have neglected the garden this year, so luck is definitely on my side. I've never had such a successful garden & have done such little work. I'm also embarrassed that I've never had such tall weeds in my garden! It's funny because I never got around to putting cages around my Roma tomatoes, so they started using the weeds to hold them up!

Tuesday, July 26, 2022


The Grief Diaries | On The Creek Blog //
The 8th post in my 'grief diaries' series where I share my experiences coping with my husband's death.

It never gets any easier, does it?

I find myself asking this question at random times when the grief comes out of nowhere. I thought the worst was over, but I keep finding new, more profound levels of grief.

I'm sure the latest wave of grief is because we just hit the 7-month mark of James being gone.

7 months seemed to be a big deal for us as a couple. We met & were engaged within about 7 months. Then, James's cancer battle lasted about 7 months. It's so mind-blowing to me that so much can happen in such a short time.

Wednesday, July 20, 2022


A Small Office Space in the Greenhouse | On The Creek Blog //
A little office space in the greenhouse!

I finally got around to cleaning up the greenhouse a few weeks ago. I put all of my gardening supplies away neatly on their shelves.

Once everything was organized, I saw that I had a little extra empty space, so I created a little "office" area in the greenhouse for the summer.

This was really just an excuse to get some things out of my house & store them in the greenhouse for a bit! I primarily work inside my house but having a little space to store items is excellent.

I had this little table in the basement that James & I never finished. It has leaves on either side, but it's perfect in the greenhouse. I still want to stain the tabletop, but it will work now. It's a great size & height for working on my laptop.

Another item I love is the old lantern. I got it from my friends' parents' yard sale & it's one of my favorite things. It's such a beautiful display piece! You all know I'm a massive fan of anything old & rustic & the lantern is so beautiful & authentic.

Thursday, June 16, 2022

6 months of surviving young widowhood | On The Creek Blog //
Six months.

Six months of a different life.  A life without you in it.  I never thought I would have to say those words.  We were just ordinary people living an everyday life when the absolute unthinkable happened.

I never thought things would happen at such an accelerated pace. That you would be here & gone before I even had time to come up for air.

I'm slowly finding my way in this new life without you. I miss you a lot more these days when so many new & exciting things are happening. Something new in my life will happen & I'll think to myself, "I can't wait to tell James about this!" or "When James comes home, we're going to have to do this." Then I remember it's just me & you're not here anymore.

It's the weirdest thing knowing you're not here & not knowing you're not here. My mind is so ingrained in my old life that my thoughts sometimes can't catch up to my new reality.

There was no one quite like you & I will probably never come close to meeting someone like you again in this lifetime.

Monday, June 13, 2022


10 Fun Summer Palettes | On The Creek Blog //

10 summer-themed color palettes I love!

I could probably spend hours looking at color palettes on Pinterest.  I love doing little graphic design projects, so colors are everything.  The right color palette can completely transform the mood of a project.

My favorite color schemes at the moment are what I call "happy" colors--super-bright & girly.

I'm also super into watercolors at the moment.  That's why both of my gratitude journals have watercolor themes.

The colors of summer are my favorite because they have all the colors I love.

I created these 10 color palettes from summer images I found on Canva.

I love them all so much.  My current favorite is the one to the left.  It's just so fun & feminine!

I'll do another post soon on how I create my color palettes.  It's super fun & easy to do.

I hope you love these colors as much as I do!  If you're into graphic design, feel free to use them in your projects!  I would love to see your creations, so tag me in them!

Thursday, June 09, 2022



life is short, make it sweet gratitude journals | On The Creek Blog //
My gratitude journals are now available on Amazon!

- Life is Short, Make it Sweet Gratitude Journal

- Life is Short, Make it Sweet Gratitude Journal 100 page

I'm super excited to announce that my gratitude journals are now available on Amazon!

What began as an experiment in book printing turned into adorable journals!

Publishing a book has always been a dream of mine & I love that I started with journals!

I made not one but two journals & I love them both!

They're basically the same journal, but one is in beautiful color & the other is plain black & white.

I made two journals because even though the color journal is gorgeous, it's also pricy to print.  I wanted to make a cheaper option available.  While the full-color journal has 66 pages, I could put 100 pages in the black & white one & still be more affordable than the color option.  I honestly think my favorite is the black & white version because I love to doodle & that one is a blank slate!  

Both journals are beautiful & are great for keeping track of everything you're grateful for!

Wednesday, June 08, 2022

A cute side table makeover using Fusion Mineral Paint | On The Creek Blog //

A small side table gets a super easy & cute makeover!

This is my first furniture project of the year.  It's weird, but it's difficult for me to work on furniture without James being here.  Refurbishing furniture was our thing--James would repair the absolute trash furniture I brought home & then I painted everything.  

There's still a rocking horse in the basement that James repaired before things got crazy.  I know I need to paint it, but I can't bring myself to start on it.

I randomly found a small side/end table at Goodwill last week & decided to bring it home.  It just needed to be painted, so it was a relatively easy project.  I'm sure if James were here, he would have made some repairs.  It's a little wobbly & James was all about perfection when it came to anything like that.  He would have had it as good as new in no time.  Now I just have to be comfortable with the imperfections.

I dug out my favorite Fusion Mineral Paint color, Sacred Sage & got started.  The finish was a little shiny, so I sanded it down just a little bit with my sanding sponge.  I got lazy & didn't sand the entire thing, but the paint went on beautifully.  I love Fusion Mineral Paint so much.  It's very forgiving.  My favorite part is that it has a built-in topcoat.  I've had some major topcoat disasters with bleed through & I've never had it with Fusion so far.

Thursday, June 02, 2022


Easy to build raised garden beds | On The Creek Blog //
These raised garden beds are super easy to create & look stunning.

I decided to return to the raised garden beds for my gardening adventures this year.

This will be my 6th gardening season & I've used raised garden beds for all but 2 years.

Honestly, I prefer an actual tilled garden over raised beds.  The 2 years we did a tilled garden were amazing.  It turns out we have great soil & our plants did very well.

With it being just me this year, I had to return to the basics.  Raised garden beds are a lot easier to take care of.  I don't have the time or energy to maintain a large garden this year.  The raised beds will still allow me to keep a garden but on a much smaller scale.  I absolutely love gardening, but I didn't want to get too overwhelmed this year.

So here are the details on the raised garden beds my dad made.

My dad made a raised garden bed for my mom's zinnias a couple years ago & I absolutely loved it.  He just took some scrap wood leftover from a project they were doing, but I thought it was so simple & so great.

Wednesday, June 01, 2022


The Grief Diaries | On The Creek Blog //
 The 7th post in my 'grief diaries' series where I share my experiences in coping with my husband's death.

It is nearing the one-year mark since James was diagnosed with cancer.  I knew cancer would change our lives, but I never thought it would end so abruptly.  It's bringing up a lot of "what if?" emotions. 

What if James could have been diagnosed sooner?  

What if the last clinical trial he was set to participate in would have been his saving grace?  

What if James had the cancer tumor removed earlier?  

Would any of these things have brought a different outcome?  Would it have slowed down the cancer acceleration at all?  Would there have been a more terrible end of life situation if the cancer progressed more slowly?

Tuesday, May 24, 2022


You are one moment away from a completely different life | On The Creek Blog //
You are one moment away from a completely different life.

I honestly think it was the right place at the right time moment when I came across a clip of Taylor Swift's commencement speech last week.  I immediately needed more, so I found & read the entire transcript.  It's golden, to say the least.

I will say that I'm entirely biased because Taylor & I are around the same age, so I could relate to many things she said.  Although I'm not a world-famous superstar, I thrive on creativity, so I can relate.

"You get to pick what your life has time & room for.  Be discerning."

Taylor's commencement speech affected me because we are starting to get our "different life" moments--the event that throws our lives in a completely different direction.   You all know this, but it was the loss of my husband for me.  There have also been tons of notable mentions in the past few years (a failed foster placement, our beloved dog dying, etc.).  That life-changing event is starting to show up for many, if not all, of us.  If you haven't experienced the big event, I'm sure you have some notable mentions that gave you plenty of grief & perspective.

Monday, May 23, 2022

I'm only accepting blue skies energy from now on | On The Creek Blog //
I'm now only going to accept 'Blue Skies Energy'--things that make me happy.

Growing up, I had the best neighbors.  Ed & Jeanne were an older couple who moved out to the country to retire.  They were a super sweet couple.  Jeanne really took me under her wing as a sort of honorary granddaughter.  We honestly couldn't have picked better neighbors.

Jeanne sang the song "Blue Skies" by Ella Fitzgerald sometimes around their house when I would visit.  Over the past few months, the song has gained momentum in my brain.  When I look back at the past few years & everything I went through, I think "nothing but blue skies from now on" will be my life's motto.  I've been dealt enough emotional storms to last a lifetime.  It's time for blue skies every day.  It's time for happiness.

I'm only going to accept 'Blue Skies Energy' whenever possible.

Of course, I know there will be more terrible times & I'll deal with them when they come up.  What I'm really talking about are the situations that can be avoided.  If it's going to ruin my blue-sky positivity, I will avoid it.

Wednesday, May 11, 2022


The details on my gratitude journal | On The Creek Blog //
All the information on my gratitude journal!

I have some exciting news:  I'm releasing a gratitude journal!

What started off as an experiment in book printing quickly turned into the side project of my dreams!

It has definitely been a learning curve for sure.  This is actually my second attempt & I still need to adjust some things!  I had no idea book printing was this difficult!

I'm doing everything on my own except for the printing part.  For this journal, I'm using Amazon KDP for printing.  I also used Blurb & I love them both so much.  The quality of the books is fantastic.

I'm going with Amazon because they offer it for sale directly on their website.  Someone can simply purchase the journal from Amazon & have it shipped straight to their house.

I didn't really sit down & make an actual comparison, but I think they are both around the same price for printing.  I'll do another post soon with more details on book publishing because I know a few people are interested in how it all works.

Monday, May 09, 2022


What I seed started in 2022 | On The Creek Blog //
The plant crew of 2022!

The plant crew of 2022 is finally coming together!

It was so funny; we were at our local greenhouse last weekend & I admired their beautiful veggie plants.  I told my son, "This is what happens when you don't wait until April 15 to start your seeds!" 

My plant crew seedlings are still super tiny, but they're coming along.  I have been taking them out of the greenhouse every day to get a little sun.  The temperatures here have been fantastic & they're only getting warmer this week.  We're also going to have a stretch where it will not rain for 5 days! I'm looking forward to that!

In other planting news, the little greenhouse that could is coming along nicely.  I dug some supplies out from the basement & moved some plastic shelving out to the greenhouse for storage.  I need to do a greenhouse tour because it's just the cutest.  It's such a small space, but it works really well for me.

Seedling mode is in full swing over here.  I'm slowly 'leveling up' some plants--moving them into bigger containers as they grow.  I love coming out & looking at the little ' glow-ups' of the plants every morning!

Monday, May 02, 2022


Melanoma Monday | On The Creek Blog //

Melanoma Monday is the first Monday in May.  It's used to raise awareness of the disease.

A friend sent me this photo of my husband, James.  The pictures of James growing up are few & far between.  I have just one tote of pictures from when James & his siblings were growing up.  They're all young childhood pictures.  Before this, I think I've seen only one other picture of my husband as a teenager.

It's so neat to see James like this.  I didn't officially meet him until he was 22.  I'm so thankful that I got 15 years to know him.  I wish I had known him earlier & I wish he was still here.  He evolved so much as a person & I was looking forward to many more years with him.

Last year, I didn't know I would be a widow.  I didn't realize how deadly Melanoma can be.  Melanoma can spread more quickly & earlier than many other forms of cancer.

In James's case, his Melanoma developed from a mass in his left underarm region.  It was a race against time until the treatments could no longer keep up with cancer.  After 7 months of battle, James peacefully passed away.

Wednesday, April 27, 2022


The importance of displaying things on the refrigerator | On The Creek Blog //
The importance of displaying things on the refrigerator.

When James & I were remodeling our home, we splurged on stainless steel appliances.  In our old place, we just had hand-me-down appliances.  I felt like we 'made it' by getting the stainless steel.  I absolutely love our colossal refrigerator!

I always kept the refrigerator clear.  After all, I wanted to show off the stainless steel...even if it was just to myself!  I was so upset the day I found scratches on the fridge!

When we started fostering our son, he would bring home papers from school.  Instead of putting them on the fridge, I found other creative ways to display them. I still needed that distinction of the fancy refrigerator.  The thoughts I hold on to are so silly sometimes.

After everything we've been through in the past year, my mindset has completely changed.  I almost always look at things with a 'Would this really matter in the end?' mentality.  It's a wild way to live because I've found out approximately 95% of things don't really matter in the big picture.

My son has really gotten into creativity this year.  Last year, he would do papers where he wrote a story & would draw a picture.  Most of the time, he didn't draw a picture at all.  The rare times he did draw a picture, it would be super simple.  His creativity absolutely exploded this year & I'm getting pictures all the time now.

Tuesday, April 19, 2022


How to create an Instagram Link In Bio Website in Canva | On The Creek Blog //
How to easily create an Instagram link in bio page using Canva.

I have so much love for Canva.  It has completely transformed my blog strategy & made graphic creation so much easier!

If you don't know what Canva is, here's a quick rundown:

According to their website, Canva is an online design and publishing tool with a mission to empower everyone in the world to design anything and publish anywhere.

I could go on & on about Canva, but I wanted to share my absolute favorite Canva hack:  the link in bio website.

The link in bio website is basically the little landing page that is usually linked from Instagram.  I use my link in bio page to give a little overview on what I'm about & links to my blog & other social media pages.  It's also the page you see when you click on the 'Start Here' section on my blog.  It's basically the cliff notes of my story--my elevator pitch.

The Canva Bio Link Website would also work great to link things on YouTube or TikTok.

Monday, April 18, 2022


the sky is no longer the limit | On The Creek Blog //
Thoughts on dreaming big!

I was originally going to title this post 'The Sky is the Limit' but I thought I could do better than that.  Why should the sky be the limit anyway?  The sky can't possibly be the limit when there are footprints on the moon!

I watched the absolute best video on TikTok last week.  I'll post it below but here's the cliff notes:  An 8-year-old girl wrote a book & wanted to get it published.  Her mom, like most of us adults, are working in the confines of our adult mind so things like publishing a book seem super difficult.  The girl really wanted her book out in the world so she asked her school librarian if it could be put in the library.  The librarian then put a barcode on it & it's now available to be checked out!

I feel like we need more of this energy in the world.

Around the same time I saw this video, my son was talking about maybe writing a book.  He's hit a super creative streak recently & coincidentally, I have too.  I've been working on so much media stuff recently & I'm absolutely loving it.

Technology has come so far since I was a kid & the possibilities are pretty much endless on what you can do media wise.  Everything used to be clunky & difficult but now it's an absolute breeze to make my dreams come to life.  I was a super creative kid but I can only imagine how creative I would have been if this was all at my fingertips back then.

Wednesday, April 13, 2022

The Grief Diaries | On The Creek Blog //
The 6th post in my 'grief diaries' series where I share my experiences in coping with my husband's death.

A weird part of grief is the ability to be both happy & sad at the exact same time.

Yesterday, I took my little plant seedlings to the greenhouse.  I've been slowly setting up the greenhouse to accommodate actual plants.  The weather is supposed to be warm enough from here on out for the plants to stay outside.  I'm trying to get my plants & supplies out of my actual house & into the greenhouse.

Once I got my little plant crew all set up, I stepped back & really looked at everything.  I was so incredibly happy to have a greenhouse to put my plants in.  I have wanted a greenhouse for years!  I finally talked my husband into building one last year.  The greenhouse was the last thing my husband built before our cancer nightmare started so 
it holds a really special place in my heart.

Monday, April 11, 2022


Thoughts about life & the "Wear Sunscreen" speech | On The Creek Blog //
Thoughts about life & the "Wear Sunscreen" speech.

Last week I was browsing quotes for the little videos I make when I came across one that unlocked a core memory...

The "Wear Sunscreen" speech.

I remember hating that song when it came out (the article it's based on came out in 1997 in case you want to feel old!).  It seemed like it was overplayed everywhere!  To me, it was just some boring words put together to scare the graduating youth.  I've heard it a few other times since then & really paid no mind to it until a random Thursday in April when the memory was unlocked & I read the speech again.

I was doomed from the first line:  "...Wear sunscreen."

Although James's Melanoma didn't originate from a mole, the sunscreen bit is not lost on me.

I found myself laughing & crying reading through true statement after true statement.

Ever since the song came out, I was always apprehensive about the line:

Saturday, April 09, 2022


Zinnia seedlings & basement growing setup | On The Creek Blog //
Update on our Zinnia seedlings & a peek at my basement plant growing set up!

The Zinnia seeds Braxton & I planted are starting to sprout!  They're doing so well that I already had to level them up into cups!

I'm seed starting upstairs where it's super warm but I'm quickly running out of space!  I needed to get my plant setup going in the basement ASAP!

I'm so far behind on my seed starting this year.  I always think it's going to be tedious, so I just never start.  Then when I finally start a flat of seeds, I realize it doesn't take very long at all!

I've been buying tons of random seeds on my Sunday Walmart trips.  Now I just need to take a day & devote to seed starting everything I have!  

The weather is supposed to be warmer next week so I might be able to shuffle some plants to the greenhouse.

It's just been a slow & lazy start to gardening this year for me.

My "setup" this year is super simple & not fancy at all. I wasn't even going to post it because it's so plain!  But the thing works!  I had plans for a beautiful setup, but the lazy setup works just as well! 

Wednesday, April 06, 2022


The Grief Diaries | On The Creek Blog //
The 5th post in my 'grief diaries' series where I share my experiences in coping with my husband's death.

Previous 'grief diaries':
- Grief Diaries 1
- Grief Diaries 2
- Grief Diaries 3
- Grief Diaries 4

Grief continues to be weird.

I thought I had been doing fairly well over the last month.  I got through James's birthday.  I also completed more paperwork things that reminded me this nightmare is real.

I have been making a habit of stopping by James's childhood home.  When I drop my kiddo off at my parents' house, I usually like to take the long way home.  When I go this route, James's childhood road is directly across from where I would turn to go to our house.  One day I just decided to make my trip a little longer & drive by there.  No one lives on the property.  It's also on a quiet back road so I can park there & think a little bit.

I've done this numerous times over the past month.  I've done a lot of thinking staring at where my husband grew up.  I'd cry a little sometimes or just leave before the thoughts got too deep.

Monday, April 04, 2022


we were neon in a grey crowd | On The Creek Blog //
We were neon in a grey crowd.

I swear Tractor Supply has the best music.  

Tractor Supply has weirdly become one of my stops during my Sunday morning Walmart trip.  For whatever reason it seems like I always need to stop in there for something.

Yesterday I was in there for dog food.  I stopped for a minute to browse the seeds & one of my favorite songs, "Legends" by Kelsea Ballerini came on.  I hadn't heard that song in a long time so I was rocking out in the seed section!

When I got to the car, I put the song on my radio & really listened.  Then it unlocked a core memory...

I see a lot of James & me in that song.  We were always so fun together & tried to make each other laugh all the time.

There's a thing going around TikTok where one half of the couple starts acting weird & sees if their partner matches their energy.  If we could do that, James would totally match my energy.

Friday, April 01, 2022


kids gardening supplies from Amazon | On The Creek Blog //
My favorite kids gardening picks from Amazon!

I'm really trying to get my son, Braxton, into gardening this year.  I think gardening is an important & fun skill to learn.

I've talked before about my love for Mind & Soil & the mental health benefits of gardening.  I know I get a lot of stress relief from gardening & it's just so fun to me!  I hope I can pass some of that along to Braxton.  He's still pretty young so he needs a lot of behind the scenes help from me to get his plants going but he's getting there!

This year we seed started zinnias for B & they're doing way better than expected.  It's only been a few days but they're already coming up!  It's looking like a good year for zinnias!  We're planning on putting them in his kids garden bed.  I'm looking forward to beautiful blooms all summer long!  

This is my first year seed starting flowers & I didn't know what to expect.  I was pleasantly surprised when it did so well.  Now I want to seed start all the flowers!

Before writing this post, I didn't really think kids gardening was a thing.  I figured I'd go on Amazon & struggle to find a couple things.  But...gardening with kids is totally a thing!

Monday, March 28, 2022


Some thoughts on walking through the storm & my new life perspective.

My kiddo had a sleepover at Grandma's house on Friday night.  I did my usual nightly activities when B has a sleepover & woke up on Saturday morning planning to clean my house.  

I was listening to music & getting ready for the day when a thought popped in my head:  'I should go watch the sunrise from the lake'!  I quickly looked up the sunrise time & decided I could make it to the lake in time.  I was seriously cutting it close but I made it!  

I debated on even going in the first place.  Then I asked myself 'When this all ends am I going to miss cleaning my house or miss seeing the sunrise from the lake?'.  The sunrise obviously won.

I live my life a lot differently now.  When I saw firsthand how short life can truly be, it permanently changed my perspective.  I try to see the best in every situation.  I let a lot of things go.  I don't hold on so tightly anymore to situations that aren't serving my happiness.

Wednesday, March 23, 2022


Life is short, make it sweet | On The Creek Blog //
 Life is short, make it sweet.

I got this message on the back of a Splenda packet when I was making my tea the other morning.  I thought it was fitting for the situation I'm in.

Coincidentally, I got the same message yesterday morning from a Splenda packet when I was making tea at my mom's house.

I know it's just a cute phrase to put on a sugar substitute packet but it has been my motto for life lately.

If this year has taught me anything, it is that you never know when this life will be over.  

My mom & I were talking the other day about how some people's lives are cut short.  How some people don't have enough time on this earth.  I thought about it for a minute & realized that even if I live to be 100, it probably still won't be enough time for me.  We're all in a race against time & it will never be enough.

Thursday, March 10, 2022



Journaling For Self Discovery | On The Creek Blog //

Using journaling to discover who I am.

After James died I noticed I was starting to fall back into the old habits I had before we got married...

I make them sound bad but I'm fairly wholesome so they're totally not!  Here are a few examples:

- I binge watched the entire series of The Golden Girls.  I used to watch the girls all the time after I got done working my first job out of high school.

- I started drinking soda again.  I used to drink pop at an alarming rate but gave up on it over the past few years.  Now I love to have a little can of Pepsi or Mountain Dew on my kid free nights.

- And, after watching one too many Tik Toks about the benefits of writing things down, I started journaling again.

I don't think I ever talked about this on my blog before but I used to keep some epic journals during my senior year & just out of high school.  I put a ton of random things in them & also wrote what I hoped for the future.  It all kind of stopped after I met James because I was actually living a good life.  I didn't need to dream about anything bigger.

Monday, March 07, 2022



Remembering my husband on his birthday | On The Creek Blog //
Thoughts on my husband's birthday.

Today is James's birthday.  Now it is just a date on the calendar.  There will be no more birthday cakes & celebrations with James here with us.  No one will get to see him grow older.

James will be 38 years old forever.

James had very few pictures from his childhood but we noticed a theme with most of them:  James was always in front of a cake!  It became a joke in our family every time James got around a cake.  The picture to the left is from his 38th birthday.  We always do birthday celebrations with our immediate family & I'm now so thankful for it.

My mom suggested getting a cake for James's birthday this year.  It's bittersweet but we still wanted to remember his birthday.

If I had only known his 38th birthday would have been his last.  But you don't know what you don't know.  I didn't know James would be gone just 9 months later. I didn't know I would be alone & crying on his birthday instead of celebrating.

Friday, March 04, 2022


Hey there, Besties! 🌟 

Guess what? This weekend, I stumbled upon something so charming it nearly made my heart skip a beat – a darling raised garden bed just for Braxton! Now, before we dive into this garden of delights, let's chat about my Saturday night ritual.

So, every Saturday, while Braxton's off having a blast at Grammy & Grumpy's, I indulge in a little "me" time. Picture this: a steamy hot bath, my favorite calming bubble bath, and a dash of melatonin to whisk me off to dreamland – well, after I cozy up on the couch for a non-cartoon binge. (Though, I'll admit, Shrek and Tangled have made a cameo or two on these solo nights!)

Kids Raised Garden Bed | On The Creek Blog //

Come Sunday morning, I'm up at the crack of dawn, ready to take on the world – or at least Walmart. There's something magical about wandering through those almost empty aisles early in the morning, isn't there? It's like the world's your oyster; every aisle is a new adventure. And who knew? Walmart at dawn has become my latest passion project.

Now, let's get to the heart of the story—the super cute raised garden bed that serendipity placed in my path in the garden section while I was on the hunt for seed-starting supplies. With a price tag under $50, it was a no-brainer. I mean, I'd been dreaming up ways to introduce Braxton to the joys of gardening, and this little gem was the perfect start. Simplicity is my new mantra, after all.

Kids Raised Garden Bed | On The Creek Blog //

Constructed with love by my dad and Braxton, this garden bed wasn't just easy to assemble – it came with a chalkboard side! Can you imagine the fun? And though it's just 2ft tall, it's the cutest addition to our garden adventures. Braxton's already planning a floral extravaganza for this summer, and I'm here for it!

For those who've caught the gardening bug, I've scoured Amazon and found a couple of similar gems that could also spark that creative flair in your little gardeners.

I've probably said this more times than I can count, but I am absolutely buzzing for summer and all the gardening escapades it brings. It's moments like these – simple, joyous, and shared with loved ones – that truly make life a beautiful DIY project, don't you think? Here's to creating more of these moments, one garden bed at a time. 🌱✨

Kids Raised Garden Bed | On The Creek Blog //

Sending all the sunshine and inspiration your way,

Tiff 🌼

P.S. Eager to get your hands on one of these adorable garden beds for your little gardener? I've linked a couple of my finds below. Happy gardening, besties!

1 | 2 | 3 | 4

Wednesday, March 02, 2022


This is the fourth post in my 'grief diaries' series where I share my experiences in coping with my husband's death.

Previous 'grief diaries':
Grief Diaries 1
Grief Diaries 2
- Grief Diaries 3

I came across a fantastic video on Tik Tok last week.

The entire video is good but the words that stopped me in my tracks were this:

"Forever comes with an expiration date.  At some point, forever is going to come to an end."

The song "Forever After All" by Luke Combs gets me in my feelings every time.  The lyrics at the end of the song completely devastate me:

"And I know there'll be that moment
The good Lord calls one of us home And one won't have the other by their side
But heaven knows that that won't last too long
Maybe some things last forever after all"

Tuesday, March 01, 2022


Seed Starting Month awaits on On The Creek Blog – where life's a garden, and we're all just planting our way through it. | on the creek blog //

Hey there, Besties! 🌟

Welcome to the most exciting time of the year - Seed Starting Month! Now, you might have heard the age-old gardening mantra suggesting to start seeds 6-8 weeks before the last frost. But, in true Tiff fashion, impatience is the name of the game, and I'm diving in headfirst to get my green babies started a tad early – we're talking 12-13 weeks early! Sure, it's a bit more of a juggle to keep those tiny seedlings thriving, but isn't there something magical about nurturing life from the very beginning?

Drawing inspiration from my dear dad, the original green thumb in the family, I'm embracing the seed starting season with all the zest it deserves. Last year, Dad beat me to the punch, embarking on his planting journey a few weeks before I did. And this year? He's already nudging me about getting those peppers started – those slow pokes really do take their sweet time! Little did he know that my pepper seed stash was ready to go in January. Oh, I'm all in on this assignment!

Seed Starting Month awaits on On The Creek Blog – where life's a garden, and we're all just planting our way through it. | on the creek blog //

Every year, I promise myself to keep it simple, yet somehow end up surrounded by a lush jungle of pepper and tomato plants. So, a little shoutout to my local Besties – if you're in the mood to adopt some plant babies, hit me up!

In the spirit of fresh starts and healing, I'm channeling the power of gardening this season. The folks at Mind & Soil have really opened my eyes to the mental health wonders of getting your hands dirty and connecting with Earth. Gardening has always been my sanctuary, but it's my lifeline this year, offering a slice of purpose as I tend to my budding garden.

Seed Starting Month awaits on On The Creek Blog – where life's a garden, and we're all just planting our way through it. | on the creek blog //

Speaking of getting things rolling, my mission this week is to whip my basement growing area into shape. Armed with peat pellets, a shiny new reusable seed starting tray (because, sustainability), and a heart full of hope, I'm ready to embark on this journey of growth and discovery.

Reflecting on last year's seed-starting saga, I'm reminded of the playful rivalry between my dad's earthy approach and my peat pellet preference. With the clock ticking towards planting season, it's game on, Dad – let's see who gets their garden groove on first this year!

Seed Starting Month awaits on On The Creek Blog – where life's a garden, and we're all just planting our way through it. | on the creek blog //

For all my fellow plant enthusiasts out there, I'm dying to hear about your seed-starting stories. When do you plant your seeds? What's on your growing list this year? Let's share our plans, dreams, and maybe even a few gardening mishaps because isn't that what Earth School is all about?

Catch you on the flip side, Besties, and happy gardening! 🌱✨

On the Creek blog is proud to be a part of the T&J Maintenance family - turning houses into homes.