How do I explain God to my toddler? I hadn’t thought of that…

Rory Looks Out the Window Krysteena Marie Design

At sixteen months, Rory isn’t exactly pondering the wonders and origins of the universe. But recently my mom asked me how I would approach the idea of God when the time comes, and I realized I hadn’t really thought about it. You see, I was raised in a Christian household. As children, we said our prayers before bed, and asked blessings before dinner. We put our Nativity up each Christmas (my brother and I fought over who got to carry baby Jesus to the manger), and went to the occasional church service. But we were never strictly observant. Faith was a given, a mostly unspoken and always unquestioned member of our family. But as I grew older I found myself drifting further from faith, and drifting into what I considered a loose spirituality and today can’t say that I consider myself religious in any sense of the word.

My extended family, however is still religious, ranging from loosely observant to attending service every Sunday. Since I believe that faith is a deeply personal choice (and mostly because I don’t want to break the hearts of those closest to me), I tend to avoid the topic if it comes up at family gatherings. But the day will come when the subject of God is introduced to Rory by someone other than myself. Mom wanted to know how I feel about that, and how I would answer any questions Rory may come to me with.

Since religion isn’t exactly on my front burner most days, I’d never thought much about it. I know we’d love to introduce her to different ideas of God, from mythos to modern religion- to explain to her that while some believe in the God of Abraham, others believe in another, or in many gods, and that others believe in no god at all. “Of course,” Mom replies, “at that point she will ask what you believe. What will you say then?”

After some thought, (since that possible scenario hadn’t yet occurred to me) I was surprised to realize I *do* know what I want to say when she asks. I want to tell her that I believe it’s up to us to be good to each other and to love one another and take care of each other …not because a book tells us we should, or because we’ll go someplace scary if we don’t, but because it makes us feel good, and it makes things better for everyone. (Here we’d discuss the birthday gift she made for Daddy and how happy he was to receive it and how that made her feel… or some similar example). There are lots of things in this world that I don’t understand and we can’t explain, but the love all around us and between us is real and makes our world a better place to live. But if someone believes different from you that doesn’t mean that they are wrong or that you are wrong. People have fought with each other for a very long time over who is right, but we all have to find our way and read and learn and experience our world and decide what is best for us. And whether somebody is Christian, or Hindu, or Muslim, or Jewish, or believes something else, or in nothing at all, we can still love them because of who they are, not because of how they think.

So… I suppose that’s what I’d like to tell her. And maybe someday when the time comes I’ll remember. Or I’ll say,”Hang on a second, while I pull up this old blog post I wrote when your Grammy asked me that very question”. But for now, I think I’ll just continue to watch her finger paint, and clean up the blue and green foot prints trekked across my living room floor.  :)

Freebie Friday | Red White & Blue Clothespin Game & Coupon Code

Happy 4th of July! Today’s freebie is for all you last minute shower planners out there… my clothespin game in red white & blue just in time for your 4th of July baby shower! I also have a coupon code happy4th for $2 off any order of $8 or more. Coupon code is good through July 4th. So click below to get your freebie then head on over to the shop to use your coupon for more goodies. Need custom items for your shower? Shoot me a message in the shop and I’ll get to work for you!

Click here for your free downloadFree Download print at home red white and blue baby shower game 4th of July at krysteenamariephotoblog


Freebie Friday! | Adventure Wallpaper


Happy Friday! Today’s freebie is a downloadable full resolution image that can be used as wallpaper for your device or as a printable mini-poster. [Click here] to download full resolution. The design is inspired by today’s road trip and mini-vacay with R.J. for our two year anniversary (hands up if you’re not at work today!🖐). When we started dating, R.J. and I did a pretty good job getting lost on our way to wherever we were going. Somehow, those wrong turns (almost) always end up getting us to our intended destination, and somehow we were usually better off for the detour. We came to dub these wrong turns “adventures” and they tend to make for a good chuckle and a great story 😄. In life as in road trips, we’ve made our fair share of wrong turns. But I don’t think either of us would change a thing, because all those roads led to here, to now, and to each other.

So here’s to Friday, and to here’s to wrong turns. May they ever lead to grand adventures!

Freebie Friday! | “What’s in Your Purse?” Shower Game

UPDATE: This freebie is no longer available, but you can purchase it in my Etsy shop. Check back soon for new freebies!🙂

Thanks for stopping by for Freebie Friday! Be sure to follow along by subscribing to the blog, or following on Facebook, and Pinterest to know when new freebies pop up. Today’s freebie is one of the newer games in the shop… “What’s in your purse?” Shower Game, great for wedding showers and baby showers. Today’s freebie is the pink version. Blue is available for purchase in my shop along with some other fun shower ideas… such as my world famous, and often imitated Words for the Wee Hours game!

This game is best played by placing on guest tables (or passing around to guests) to be completed throughout the shower and tallied at the end. What’s in Your Purse is a great game that can get everyone at the shower involved… even Grandma and Great Aunt Myrtle who don’t like to play the more active, “center of attention” type games.

This printable PDF file includes two games per page so that you can save paper!

I hope you enjoy today’s free download, and I’d love to see pictures of it in action at your shower! Be sure to check back for more to come, and comment below to let me know what you’d like to see for my next freebie!😄

Click here to download Whats in Your Purse Pink. Then right click the image to save to your computer.

Click here to find other games for your shower on Etsy!

What's In Your Purse game free download available for purchase at




Freebie Friday! | “The Price is Right!” Baby Shower Game

UPDATE: This freebie is no longer available, but you can purchase it in my Etsy shop. Check back soon for new freebies!🙂

Today I’d like to start a freebie Friday… because who doesn’t like free stuff, am I right? This is just the first of many, so be sure to follow along by subscribing to the blog, or following on Facebook, and Pinterest. For my first freebie Friday, I’m giving away one of the favorite items in the shop… “The Price is Right!” Baby Shower Game. Today’s freebie is the pink version. Blue is available for purchase in my shop along with some other fun shower ideas… such as my world famous, and often imitated Words for the Wee Hours game!

This is a great game if you’re looking for one to be played throughout the shower and promote mingling. To play, many shower hosts will buy the items and have them displayed on a table (and give to mommy to be after the shower, of course!). Guests then view the items on the table and guess the prices. Guest with the most correct answers wins! Optional: have jumbled price tags lying out or a list of actual prices of the items, so guests can match prices to items rather than just guessing.

This printable PDF file includes two games per page so that you can save paper!

I hope you enjoy today’s free download. Be sure to check back for more to come, and comment below to let me know what you’d like to see for next week’s freebie!😄


Click here to find other games for your shower on Etsy!

The Price is Right Baby Shower Game Free Download [other colors and more games available for purchase at]




DIY Bleach Spray Pirate Shirt for Gasparilla


Duncan needed something piratey to wear for this year’s Gasparilla parade, so we decided to whip up our own DIY pirate shirt! For those of you not in the know, each year Pirate Jose Gaspar and his unruly crew parade through downtown Tampa and the mayor hands over the key to the city during Gasparilla, our version of Mardi Gras, with parades and festivities for kids and adults.

Well, you can’t just show up to Gasparilla without dressing the part! But instead of buying some new pirate garb this year, we decided to get crafty. Duncan says our bleach spray pirate shirt turned out pretty awesome (which, from the mouth of a twelve year old little dude, is quite the good review) and it was super easy to make!
Bonus… it’s pretty cheap too!😉

So here’s what you’ll need to make your own bleach spray pirate shirt:

  • tee shirt
  • bleach
  • spray bottle
  • freezer paper
  • pencil/pen
  • tee shirt
  • iron
  • scissors or crafting knife
  • cardboard (to put in your shirt to prevent bleeding through)

If you’ve never crafted with freezer paper you may soon find yourself saying, as I did, “Where the heck have you been all my life?” Sure, it may sound ridiculous now… but my fellow crafters know the joy of a tool newly discovered, and freezer paper is definitely one that you’ll want to keep in your stash. You can find it in your local grocery store with the cling wrap, and parchment paper and the like. Unlike parchment paper, freezer paper is shiny on one side… which makes it perfect for creating iron on stencils.


Your first step is to find or create the design for your stencil. We googled “pirate silhouette” to find some good designs. Once you’ve got your idea, draw or trace it onto your freezer paper (the paper side, not the shiny side).


Drawing pirate flag on freezer paper with pencil


After completing your design, carefully cut it out using your crafting knife or scissors.

Cutting freezer paper stencil with X-acto knife for DIY bleach shirt

After cutting, be sure to keep track of any small parts!

Completed freezer paper stencil jolly roger pirate flag with x-acto knife

Put your stencil on your shirt, making sure placement is right where you want it. We found that it’s easier to do the big part first and iron the little bits after the big stencil is firmly in place.

Jolly Roger pirate flag stencil on tee shirt for DIY bleach pirate tee shirt


Using iron on high (cotton) setting with NO STEAM, press stencil onto your tee shirt (paper side up, shiny side down). To prevent shifting of the stencil or fabric, it’s best to press down with the iron and pick up as you cover the whole stencil (rather than swirling it around on the stencil). Try to lift the edges to ensure you’ve got the whole thing stuck down. Repeat as necessary until your stencil is firmly pressed onto the shirt.

You can see in the shot below that Duncan is pressing the flag on first. After that was in place, we added the eyes and nose and pressed.

Ironing Jolly Roger pirate flag stencil onto black tee shirt for DIY bleach spray pirate shirt

To prep for spraying:

Add a piece of cardboard inside your shirt to protect the backside from bleed through (Since we crafted on a Saturday, we used the lid of the box from pizza night🙂 ) and hang your shirt on a hanger outside to prepare for spraying.

Pour bleach into spray bottle. Do not dilute. Before spraying the bleach onto your shirt, I recommend practice spraying on an old spare tee, or testing the spray bottle with water to be sure you’ve got the hang of the flow.

Black shirt prepped for bleach spray DIY Pirate shirt


Once you’re all set… spray away! You’ll want more direct, heavier spray closest to your stencil, and less direct spritzing further from your stencil. It may take a minute or two for the color to start to fade, so give it a chance before worrying that it may not be working. Here’s a close up of the spray a minute or so in…

Close up of pirate stencil bleach spray DIY tee shirt


After you get an idea of the reaction, keep spraying until you’re happy with the design. Then let it dry completely. Here’s Duncan’s spray job🙂 …

Let it dry after spraying bleach DIY pirate shirt

After you’re sure that you like the look of your design and it’s all nice and dry, peel your stencil off. Take a quick, close up look at your shirt. If you see dried bleach (which can look like little crystals) or if you just want to be extra cautious, toss it in the dryer for a few minutes to knock off the extra bleach. After, give it a quick hand wash in cold water before washing with your laundry… just to be sure you don’t accidentally bleach your clothes.🙂

And, voila! There you have it… your very own DIY spray bleach pirate shirt, ready for Gasparilla!


DIY Bleach spray pirate shirt for Gasparilla


My Water Broke! | Shower Games on Etsy

My Water Broke Baby Shower Game Available in Pink or Blue or Cus

I got a request in the shop recently for a custom listing. I love creating new designs, but I had to admit that I had never heard of the “my water broke” game… but I was intrigued. So I did a little research, and found out that this game is quite the funny way to break the ice at your next baby shower! (see what I did there?)

To set up for the activity, purchase small plastic babies (which you can find anywhere from your local party supply store, to Amazon, to Walmart). Then drop one baby in each bit of your ice cube tray and freeze (or two if mommy to be is having twins). Give each guest a drink as the arrive at the shower (or early in the shower as you announce the rules if you want everyone to have a fair start) and make sure each drink has among the ice, one cube with the baby frozen inside. When the ice cube melts and baby is released into the drink, guest must stand up and shout, “My water broke!” The first guest with melted ice cube is the winner.

It kinda makes me think of bingo :D Since everyone can get involved in the game, and it doesn’t add to the structured time of the shower, it makes a great addition! You can now find “My Water Broke” in my Etsy Shop in pink or blue. Need your game another color to match your shower? No problem, I love to create custom listings!

Happy New Year!

The year is coming to a close once again and oh, what a year it’s been! I’m not generally one to make resolutions (mostly because I know I won’t follow through😉 ) but there is something fun about the idea of fresh starts and new beginnings. So as 2015 comes to a close and 2016 rounds the bend, I wish many happy beginnings to you and yours!

This printable is available for purchase in my Etsy Shop but you can download it below for free! Just right click on the image to save and print.

Bring on the HAPPY, Bring on the NEW, It's gonna be a great YEAR


Photo of the Day | Siblings

black and white image of brother holding baby sister big smiles

…she couldn’t ask for a better big brother to be by her side along the way.

Aurora was particularly fussy at the start of our drive this rainy Sunday morning. Although she’s generally quite the content little lady, if she goes past her nap time she can be… shall we say… less than pleasant.😉
R.J. and I sat in the front seat listening to NPR as her whimpers turned to all out cries. As R.J.reached to turn on the white noise her crying suddenly stopped. I looked into the rear view mirror and saw that Duncan was leaned over Aurora’s car seat, singing “Head, shoulders, knees and toes,” pointing to each part as he sang. She was absolutely beaming at him …and my eyes welled up with tears.
Duncan has grown so much in the few years I’ve known him, and I’m so proud of the young man he’s becoming. Aurora has a lifetime of adventures to come, and she couldn’t ask for a better big brother by her side along the way.

Photo of the Day | Nap time with Daddy

“Parenthood is a constant battle between going to bed to catch up on sleep, or staying awake to finally get some alone time.”

“Parenthood is a constant battle between going to bed to catch up on sleep,
or staying awake to finally get some alone time.”

I came across that quote somewhere in the wide, wide interwebs the other day and thought it some of the wiser words ever spoken. I think one of the biggest (and toughest) changes for me in my new found motherhood is not being able to stay up late anymore. I have always been a night owl, and since early in my pregnancy this coach starts turning back into a pumpkin shortly after nine.

Night time used to be my magic time. As a creative person (and the ultimate procrastinator) the wee hours of the morning were where I made it all happen. From editing photo shoots, to painting, to wrapping up the latest quilting project, I could usually be found in the craft room between the hours of eleven and three, with hot cup of tea by my side and the dog curled up asleep at my feet. Nowadays if I’m awake at two in the morning it’s because my little lady needs a feeding. And even then, I’m generally only doing it with one eye open. And this guy? He’s right there with me. Changing diapers, serenading, you name it.

Oh man, I miss my night time (since sleep usually wins) …but, finding scenes like this one on a rainy Saturday afternoon remind me it’s all worth it.