Easter Craft – Egg Dye from the Target Dollar spot

Materials Needed:

  1. Wooden Eggs – I found mine at the target dollar spot for $3.00
  2. Some food color – I used food coloring gel
  3. Vinegar
  4. Gloves – We didn’t use them, but i recommend this
  5. A science kit – I found mine on amazon. Plastic cups and spoons will work just as well. Kids love spraying or dropping water so if you have old spray bottles or syringes to drop water that will make it extra fun. We use our science kit for many of our crafting projects so it comes in handy!


  1. First we laid everything out on a table that was covered in paper. Make sure your little one has an old paint shirt on, and have them put on rubber gloves. Then I had my son practice pouring vinegar into cups. Three year olds love pouring liquids so just this task was very fun for him. Then we filled little test tubes with vinegar and food coloring. Once it was mixed well we placed the mixture to container where he placed the wooden egg.
  2. Using a syringe, he squeezed the color mixture onto the egg. The eggs sat in the mixture for a couple minutes.
  3. We took them out and allowed them to air dry. Now we have colorful eggs to decorate at easter time.
Crafts, Uncategorized

Lovevery Miniatures

Watch the video to learn how to make a miniature Lovevery book.

Materials needed:

  1. Sissors
  2. Clear packing tape
  3. Lovevery play kit insert from the box
  4. White cardstock or white envelopes
  5. Tacky glue

If you like my work, please subscribe my page http://www.tristarakow.com and comment below to let me know you would like to see more videos on how to make Lovevery miniatures.

Thanks for watching!

Christmas, Crafts and Decor, For the Kids, Uncategorized

How to Create a Holiday Dollhouse:

Step 1:

Find an old doll house. I was able to snag this Fischer Price doll house from a local thrift store. I’ve seen many of these on the Facebook marketplace as well. Next, you want to spray paint the entire house inside and out with an antique white matte finish. (Primer would probably work just as well.) I used 2 cans of spray paint to make sure I covered it well.

Step 2:

After I let the spray paint dry, I added cheap acrylic paint to the details. For example, brown on the roof, floors and porch, brick red for the chimney and some evergreen tones to the windows and a tiny bit of white on the decorative trim, but you can do whatever you like. Another idea is to create a gingerbread house design. That would be adorable.

Step 3:

Once the house is dry, you can add a bit more detail work to the roof and chimney. These can make it look like real snow or define the chimney bricks. using a flat tip paint brush, make downward strokes on each brick. You almost want the brush to be dry, without much paint on it. This is called dry brushing. You want to dry brush the roof in downward strokes so the white will pop out on each shingle.

Step 4:

Let it snow! I used Mod Podge to glue fake snow onto the roof. You can find bags of snow at the craft store. Just glob the glue onto the roof generously and sprinkle the snow. I added some to each level of the house and gables as well. There is even a bit of snow on the porch base and porch roof.

Step 5:

Now that you have the entire house painted, you can apply a clear coat to seal it all in. I used a clear spray paint with a matte finish. You want to make sure it’s a matte finish instead of shiny or glossy. It will give it a softer look.

Step 6:

Deck the halls! This was ridiculously fun. I added fun mini battery operated Christmas lights. I found a small set of vintage looking lights from Fleet Farm. I’ve seen these mini lights at craft stores as well. Then I used an old strand of garland for some greenery by cutting it into mini strips. The garland has wire in it, which makes it easy to bend and manipulate how I want it. I made miniature wreaths by bending it into a circle and adding a bow. I strung garland from the porch roof and twisted it around the railing.

Step 7:

Lastly, you can add Christmas miniatures for extra fun. I found a small Christmas tree and Disney holiday figures to complete my house.

Materials Needed:

Old doll house
2 cans of antique white spray paint (Matte Finish)
2 cans of clear spray paint (Matte Finish)
Acrylic Paints: Chocolate Brown, Evergreen Green, Brick Red, White
Paint Brushes – Make sure you have one with a flat tip
Garland – Make sure it’s on wire so it bends
Ribbon for making bows
Hot glue gun
Fake snow
Mod Podge
String of battery operated lights
Holiday Mini Figures – Disney ones seen in picture


Happy 1st Birthday in Heaven

Today, you would have turned one. I’d like to imagine Heaven throwing you the most spectacular birthday bash. The kind of party I so desperately wish I could give you. The room would be full of pink balloons, glittering decorations and I can see you at the center of it all wearing a princess tiara and fluffy tutu.

Instead, I’ll have to settle with making a few cupcakes in your honor. I could easily curl up in the fetal position today, but I’m going to try and be strong for you. I have a lot of mixed emotions about this day. It’s the day you died which makes me think about all the memories we missed out on this past year, but it’s also the day you came into existence and became our daughter.

I knew this week would be tough, but today is exceptionally painful. It’s hard not to relive this day because it left a permanent scar on my heart. All I wanted was a single moment to meet you. I carried you my entire pregnancy knowing you would die within minutes upon birth. I accepted the doctor’s diagnosis and determined that I could get through it all just so I could have a single moment. A still piece of time for me to look you deeply in the eyes and tell you how there’s not a single soul on this earth that wanted you more than I did.

I never got that chance Audrina and it literally breaks my heart. I can’t cry enough tears, or fast enough to let out the agony. I often think about the moment my uterus tore and how it might have felt for you to slowly slip away from us. I live in regret every day for choosing a natural birth over the C-section. People always tell me, “you can’t think that way” or “how were you to know”. It just makes me angry, because I’m your mother and it’s my job to protect you.

I want you to know, I had a sense of impending doom when considering C-section as an option. About a month prior to your delivery I had a feeling that I would die from a C-section. I had just got the babies down for a nap and was about to relax downstairs when it hit me. I couldn’t shake this sick feeling that I wouldn’t live past the month. I went as far as to write your father a goodbye letter just in case I didn’t make it. Then one week before your due date, you flipped right around from the breeched position and doctors approved my wishes for a natural delivery.

It makes me sick to contemplate how it all turned out. I swim in a thick pool of regret everyday just wondering how things could have went differently. Why were you born with a death bearing condition? Why did I have that awful premonition? Why did my uterus tear when I had no prior C-sections that would put me at risk for it. None of it makes sense, I just want to beat my head against the wall when I analyze how it all went wrong.

Despite the unimaginable horror of losing you the way I did, I’m left with what can only be described as “God watching over me during my darkest hour”. The experience had such a profound impact that it cushioned the blow of what should have destroyed my sanity. God came to me through a song, and I’m convinced he did it to reassure me that you are safe in heaven. I still get goosebumps when I hear “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing”. I literally flashback to my stay at the hospital and my heart swells with the same intense peace and serenity that washed over me the morning I lost you.

I’ll never forget the first time I heard it or the sensation I got, a feeling like God was speaking directly to me through the song. I woke up at 2:30 in the morning and the moment I opened my eyes I heard the song start to play. Then, while I was in labor with you I heard it again. I pushed and pushed and just felt so defeated that I couldn’t get you out. Aaron handed me my headphones and it relaxed me in a way that all the modern medicine in the world could not. What some might call a coincidence, I will only know the truth in my heart and how it comforted me during my darkest hour.

Flashing back to the day you were born, March 23rd, 2018: I came out of a C-section that nearly took my life and felt thankful to be alive. That morning, you went to heaven and in the process, I was reassured by God with a beautiful message. My mom arrived to my bedside with the movie Heaven is Real. I had been desperately searching for the movie all weekend because I remembered how the little boy had a near death experience and talked about visiting his sister in heaven.

As I watched the movie, tears came pouring out of my eyes. There was that song, (Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing). I laid in my hospital bed listening to the song in disbelief. It played for the third time, then a fourth, fifth and sixth time. I had watched this movie nearly 6 years prior but didn’t recall the song having any relation. It didn’t have any meaning to me back then. It was only in that moment that I turned on the movie and heard the song play 4 more times that it really confirmed the message came straight from god.

An entire year has gone by, and I have yet to hear the same song come on my Brian Crain Pandora station. It makes me wonder if it ever will again. I mean, Brain Crain is a classical music station and I never hear any songs with words or hymns for that matter. I still watch Heaven is Real and get goosebumps every time Colton meets his sister. Your death, as devastating as it is. . . has brought me closer to God. I was never one to think about heaven, but it’s starting to look like an amazing place now that you’re in it.

I imagine you up there dancing in a field of wildflowers, twirling around in a pink floral sundress. I can see you smiling at butterflies and laughing at fluffy white bunnies, living in a state of complete joy with the love of God lighting up your world. I often think about the day we will finally be reunited. I picture myself 80 or 90 years old, after a life well lived, still waking up every morning wondering, waiting and wishing you were here. I’m fairly certain I won’t fear death. After spending nearly a lifetime of living in anticipation, I will finally get to meet you.

So today, I celebrate you Audrina. I’m grateful for you and your eternal life in Heaven. As long as the sun rises and falls I’ll think of you. I promise to keep your spirit alive by living passionately in your honor. I hope to spread more joy and find opportunities to serve others walking along the same jagged path I’ve crossed. I’ll take you with me while I endure a lifetime apart. Until I see you again, I’ll carry you in my heart.


Until I see you Again

Audrina-18.jpgAs I approach the 1 year mark of life without Audrina, I’ve been reflecting on the strides made and thinking about strategies to survive the second year of loss. I don’t think anyone truly knows how to navigate through grief. To me, its been more of a pendulum swinging back and forth from hope to despair. The one thing that keeps me on a steady path is seeking gratitude and joy even in the smallest of measurement. Each day, I remind myself that I’m living in her honor and it gives me just enough fuel to set my heart on fire.

About a year ago, I was trudging through the darkest month of my life. I woke up every morning with a heavy heart just counting down the days I had left with her. I was 32 weeks pregnant with a child that wasn’t expected to live more than a few hours upon birth. I could feel her moving around daily which made it so hard to believe she wouldn’t make it.

I tried to prepare myself as best I could for her expected fate, but a casual trip to the doctors office proved to me I was never truly ready. Every , single, time they checked for a heartbeat, mine would start racing. Panic would set in, I would lose my breath and feel the room spinning. It wouldn’t have mattered if I lost her at 12 weeks, 20 or 37. Either way. . . I would have lost her in the end.

I still had the anticipation of meeting her like any other expecting mother would, but it was combined with her doomed fate. I carefully planned out her birth and considered how to document her short life. I picked out two dresses and a couple other items that seemed to indicate hope still lingered in my heart. Unfortunately, she would never get to use those items. Along with an entire wardrobe and fully furnished accessories for her first year of life.

I couldn’t bear the thought of my husband Aaron having to sort through her belongings, so I packed up her entire bedroom the same week we found out about her death bearing condition. It took me almost a year to muster up the courage to open her bin. To me, each outfit held a haunting sense of wonder. A shattered dream of who she would have been at the age she fit the outfit. There are still certain pieces that erupt the most unbearable pain.

In the days leading up to her birth, I felt excited to finally meet her, but terrified at the same time because it would mean I would lose her. Not only was I dealing with pregnancy hormones, I was on an emotional rollercoaster from hell. There were days I felt I didn’t spend enough time with her and other days I just wanted my nightmare to end. All the stress, anxiety and depression was hanging on her impending doom.

The most frightening realization was accepting the inevitable moment where I would meet her sweet face, fall deeply in love and then lose her, all within minutes. I was terrified this would be the pivotal moment of my undoing. There were times I felt I wouldn’t survive meeting Audrina just to let her go. I’ve come to realize now, meeting her didn’t save me from the pain, it just made the pain WORTH it.

I now have a beautiful face to put with the name and to go along with the memories we made for 9 months. Nothing will take away the fact that she is mine and I am hers forever. The only thing a grief stricken mother has is the gratitude of their child’s existence. It is heartbreaking to live a lifetime apart, but until we meet again. . . I’ll carry her in my heart.

I could only be grateful when I realized

That I would rather have known you for a moment

Than never at all.

I would rather endure this inexplicable pain of outliving you

Than to never have seen your face,

or spoken your name.

I would rather be yours, and you mine, regardless.

Regardless of the sorrow, the sleepless nights,

And the years I will walk this earth,

carrying you in my heart.

Scribbles & Crumbs-

Christmas, For the Kids, Uncategorized

Magical Moment

IMG_20181202_072610_915.jpgMy Son Everett watched the Polar Express for the first time. If you’ve seen the movie, you understand that the bell rings for all who believe in Santa Clause.

I wanted to instill some magic in his young heart, so I attached a bell to some red ribbon and placed it in a small box. At the end of the movie I handed it to him. He didn’t even have to open it, and somehow he intuitively knew what was inside. His eyes lit up as he opened it. My husband Aaron laughed, “mommy’s been waiting her whole life to do that”. I laughed even harder because I knew it was true.

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Spiritually Surrendering

SmartSelectImage_2018-11-11-13-32-01.jpgLately, I’ve had some coincidental encounters that leave me wondering if the universe or God is trying to teach me something. I believe there are signs if you pay attention to them. I had my lightbulb moment after meeting a friend for lunch. They told me about how they were trying desperately to obtain a relationship and felt like they would never truly be happy if they didn’t succeed in doing so. They were completely focused on this one thing, that it distracted them from seeing all the blessings around them.

I explained to them how life never goes the way you plan. In fact, sometimes the more you resist something the more it persists.  It’s a hard concept to grasp when our whole life we are taught to have goals. . . . Get good grades, get into college, land a career, buy a house, get married, have some children. It would seem more socially acceptable to complete them in chronological order, but it doesn’t always happen that way, and that’s ok! Goals are a great roadmap for life but having it unfold exactly the way you want is an illusion.

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Christmas, Crafts, Crafts and Decor, For the Kids, Kids Stuff, Uncategorized

Snowflake Ornament

20181109_094953.jpgWe kicked off winter this week by learning about snow. It couldn’t have been a more perfect morning to teach the littles about it; as we watched it fall gracefully from the sky. There is something magical about the first snowfall of the year. I felt just as excited as they were. We read our Usborne book called “What is Snow?” and then worked on a simple snowflake project.

I had so much fun making these, that I want to share it with you. Plus, there was little to no set up time or cost to do this craft and the kids loved practicing their fine motor skills with the scissors! This was a win, win for me.

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Halloween, Holiday Albums, Uncategorized

Halloween Scrapbook

20181108_123213.jpgI know, I’m a bit late on posting this one. Especially with Christmas decor hanging around the place lol. I’m one of those people. . . sitting around in their halloween costume, eating pumpkin pie while listening to Christmas music haha. Kidding, not kidding.

So I figured, better late than never. This happens to be one of my favorite scrapbooks. I used the halloween paper by Echo in the Park brand.


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