Crystal Madrilejos

Design & Creative


Just because you find the perfect spot to build, does not mean it’s going to be the easiest spot to build on. For a long time, Andrew and I had been envisioning the spot we would build and anticipated some issues but you just can’t anticipate everything – including the cost. I’m sure I don’t have to tell you that building a home is not cheap. So this is where we currently find ourselves. (more…)


Q is at a stage (he’ll be five next month) where he is very, very… challenging. Andrew and I feel we’ve tried so many ways of helping him cope with anxiety and frustrations, and sometimes it feels like we’re failing miserably.

The other week, Andrew and I attended a Montessori parenting group discussion at Q’s school that had a lot of great ideas that I thought would make a good blog series, with the first post introducing the general concept of Discipline vs. Punishment.

As I mentioned in my previous post on the Montessori Method, the teaching techniques are very centered around the child being self-motivated. So, it makes sense that the Montessori parenting style focuses on “internalizing in order to self-discipline”. By emphasizing discipline rather than punishment we’re teaching our children the “what to do” and not just the “what not to do.” Part of the internalization process requires them to experience the consequences of their behavior and learn how to make better choices. (more…)


It finally feels real. We’ve started the process of homebuilding and in the two weeks since we were pre-approved for our construction loan, we’ve been making progress – slowly, but surely.

This is a first time for us, not only to build a house but as homeowners. We’ve been renters our entire adult lives and have had no desire to invest in a starter house. It has always been all or nothing for us in terms of owning a house. Wherever we set down, that’s where we want to be. Of course, you never know what the future has in store for you, but our intention is to grow old in this house. That’s it.

We started keeping a written journal of notes and dates as we navigate this process. It’s a bit daunting, but doing things one step at a time helps keep us from feeling completely overwhelmed. After looking through the notes we’ve gathered, I thought it would be a good time to share some of the things we’ve learned so far. (more…)


It’s that time again. Recapping last year and prognosticating what’s in store for the New Year. I figured there’s no better time for a long overdue update. I have a number of posts in draft form, but haven’t had the chance to hit publish.

The ramp up to this New Year’s Eve was chaotic and so swift it knocked me off my feet, literally and figuratively. Though we usually don’t do anything to celebrate the turning of the calendar, this year was especially lackluster; spent in bed–all four of us–sick with whatever nasty bug is going around. Andrew was the first to be hit. Then both kids and I fell right in a row. Luckily, both kids escaped having to take any antibiotics but Andrew ended up with a sinus infection and myself with a killer sore throat. This is the first I’ve taken antibiotics in probably over 10 years (our kids have never had antibiotics in their short lives thus far and am hoping they don’t have to for a long time – knock on wood!)

As I was lying in bed, I would scroll through Facebook and see everyone reflecting on their year and setting intentions for 2015 with lots of motivation and high hopes. It seemed like most people had a feeling that 2015 was going to be their best year yet and that they could sense the areas of their life that were going to shine. And I wasn’t feeling it. I had no motivation, no sense of what 2015 had in store for me, and definitely did not have that feeling of a fresh start! Granted, my mind was clouded and I get super emotional when I’m sick, but I had this feeling like – Is this it? Is this lack of motivation and horrible state I’m in a foreshadowing of what this year has in store for me??

But as I’ve recovered from being sick, I’ve noticed my motivation coming back and I’m able to look back on 2014 and realize what a monumental year it was for us on many levels. I started Wild Daughters. I got an amazing new day job as Creative Director at an incredible technology company, as well as a game-changing side job, going back to my career roots, designing a magazine with a stellar team of individuals. Andrew and I are this close to being completely debt free. We hit our savings goal to finally build the house we’ve always wanted. Our little family is healthy and happy.

I’ve also been able to think more about what I want 2015 to be. The way I see it, 2014 was the year of positioning. A year of moving all the pieces in the right place to set us up for the big things we have planned for the next couple years. What can I say? We’re long-term goal type people. But what does that mean for THIS year? It means that we’re fine-tuning the mechanics of how all the pieces are working together and propelling things forward. It means making BIG moves on goals that we’ve only been inching towards for a long time, namely the house (!!!) and another project (that will remain unnamed for now) but has been 6+ years in the making. If 2014 was the year for career building, then 2015 is going to be year of The Homestead. Don’t get me wrong, both Andrew and I have big plans and ambitions, work-wise, for 2015 but I think the year is really going to shine on the home front.

I’m still feeling like I need a little bit of a kick in the pants to get this year started. I was hoping this little winter holiday break would have been the time for me to regroup and tie up loose ends, but alas, being sick derailed that plan and I have just as much stuff to do starting the New Year as I had coming out of the previous one.  So my only intention I’m making at the moment is getting through this current mile-long, to-do list and being super grateful for it all.

Happy New Year, guys.


One of the things I’ve learned so far in our journey towards possibly homeschooling our kids, is this: if you are raising a kid, then you are already homeschooling. Everything your kids learn outside of the classroom is considered homeschooling. Especially the young ones where “skills” they learn are things we teach instinctually as parents. One of the biggest fears I think most people have, including myself, when it comes to homeschooling is the fear that we aren’t qualified to teach. Which is nonsense! Whether you have the patience or not, is the bigger question (one I’m still pondering myself!) But there is really nothing the kids are learning at a very young age that I feel is above my ability to help guide them in learning. With that said, the Montessori Method is a great approach to start with because it utilizes a child’s natural learning abilities to guide the lessons, which makes it very suitable for us parents who feel we may not be capable of teaching.


On Being

Autumn Notes #002


I’ve got an infinitely scrolling to-do list and this blog post is not one of the things on it. But I’m sitting down to write it nonetheless. This past week served me a huge helping of humble pie (Whole30 compliant, to boot). Basically, I learned that no one can do it all, no matter how driven and focused. It confirmed (something that I already knew) that I wouldn’t be able to do a quarter of the things I do in life without my husband’s support. No success has been my own, and you know what? I’m totally happy to admit that. I’m so freaking fortunate for this life. I am lucky. Really, really lucky. (more…)


Okay, so my initial thought of doing random notes throughout the season was somewhat of a bust. I got a big whopping ONE for summer, though to my credit I started it on July 30th. Didn’t give myself much time.

I wanted to pop in and say hello because I’ve been quiet here on the blog. Not because I haven’t had anything going on. Quite the opposite, I’ve had so much going on that I haven’t had a moment to just sit and think. So many new things going on around these parts that I don’t even know where to start. When in doubt, make a list: (more…)


This is the time of year that things start getting crazy (and fun) in the garden. Garden 2014 is no different, though a bit behind. Still no ripe tomatoes, but plenty of beans and kale. We got a decent haul of blueberries this year, and the blackberries are coming in nicely.

The other day a groundhog got into our garden, again. Damage was minimal, just some carrot tops and a torn branch of ripening Gilbertie paste tomatoes. Maybe it remembered that time Andrew threw a Bumbo at it. Turns out there was a hole in our fencing either from some critter’s chewing, or some careless mowing. I’m inclined to think it was the groundhog due to the size and shape of the hole. The hole has since been fixed and the groundhog trapped and moved out of the garden, thank goodness. (more…)


I haven’t posted any of Q’s photos in awhile. Here are some he took earlier in the year, when it was still snowing and we had the taps in the maple trees.



I’ve been having lots of thoughts and observations lately I’ve wanted to share but they are random and are probably more journal fodder than anything. The kind of thoughts you have while driving to work or watching the kids play. They may be constructive and potential for bigger more in depth blog posts, but sometimes I just want to put the thoughts out there without thinking about the larger form they can take.

As a way to incorporate these into my blog, I decided to create seasonal notes for thoughts and happening not warranting a full-blown post for now. They may be totally useless and uninteresting, maybe they’ll spark some thought and discussion. Who knows? We’ll just see where this goes. (more…)