Crystal Madrilejos

Design & Creative


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.



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.



Andrew and I have been thinking about homeschooling our kids for a little while now. I’ve definitely been more the champion of the cause than Andrew – but the more we talk about it, the more he is on board. When we first had kids, we just thought of their education as a bridge we’d cross when we got there. We figured, we’ve got time. But it creeps up fast, let me tell you. Now it’s here, we’re crossing that bridge in the very near future. Before we started considering homeschool as an option, we figured they’d go to Montessori for pre-school/kindergarten then on to public schools – the same route that both Andrew and I took growing up. We turned out okay, right? ;) (more…)


More photos from Q. Thankfully, the Endless Winter of 2013-2014 looks like it’s finally coming to an end. As I type this, I can hear the birds outside and it’s 6:45am and the sky is light, all the tell-tale sign of spring. These pictures pretty much sum up our winter. Runny noses and cabin fever.

If you’re coming here for the first time – Q is our 4-year-old son who likes to take photos. See past photos here and here.

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Andrew’s Mom started the tradition of baking cookies for Andrew and his brother every Valentine’s Day for as long as he can remember, and last year Andrew decided to make this a tradition for our little family as well. He found two little red metal mailboxes into which he puts the cookies for the kids to find on Valentine’s Day morning. He’s been tinkering with his cookie recipe for awhile now, but this year’s cookies were, really, really good. Maybe even his best yet. So I thought this would be a great post to kick off our new series called The Kitchen Tinkerer, but more about that later in the post. First, these cookies!  (more…)

At the beginning of 2013, we got Q his own notebook. Previously, he had been drawing on random scraps of extra paper that we had lying around, but he kept requesting that he and I draw together on the same piece of paper over and over again, which resulted in this:



On Being, On Family

Merry & Bright

Just wanted to pop in and wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a wonderful holiday season!

So far, our holiday has been a bit out of the ordinary. A wrench was thrown in our plans to celebrate with my side of the family when Quil broke out in chicken pox (on the heels of Ellis just getting over it) so instead of spending this past weekend with family, we spent most of the time being holed up. But I’m a firm believer in “everything happens for a reason” and the past few weeks have been go, go, go, between making gifts for everyone all the while trying to focus on myself and the path that I’m on. There’s a been a lot of slate cleaning that comes with the end of one year and the start of another. Lots of gears turning and check boxes being checked and lists to keep track of my lists. I think this little wrench in our plans was actually the Universe’s way of telling me to slow my roll and enjoy the scenery because it’s the best at this time of the year and it always seems to go by so fast. If you blink you’ll might miss something good.  (more…)


We love encouraging our kids to be creative, especially when it comes to gifts. They are still so young so many of these gifts are collaborations between parents and kids, which I love! One day, they won’t need my help. But I’m hoping they will still want it!

Quil draws or paints almost every day, so we always have a ton of paper with drawing and marks on them. So, I decided to take it up a notch and create something special together by helping him turn a drawing into an embroidered piece of art. The picture above is what we made for Quil’s Grammy last Christmas. Excuse the terrible embroidered text on there that is supposed to say “Q 2012” but looks more like “2022” ha!

Mind you, this is not a completely novel idea. Just search “Embroidered Kid Art” on Google and you will come up with endless posts. A lot of them involve transferring from paper to fabric, but I just had Quil draw directly onto the fabric. Maybe if your kid is older and makes really detailed and clearly representational images, it would be best to start with paper so they have more control, but Quil is still in the scribble phase, so directly on the fabric works for us. Or if you have an image they already created and love and think is worthy of saving in embroidered form, transfer is obviously the way to go.

Color, line and shape were the things I followed when embroidering over his marks. It’s a simple concept, but we learned a thing or two after our first try. (more…)

Photo taken from my rooftop in 2005*

I got up super early on Thursday to go to a 6am hot yoga class. It felt really great. It’s been something I’ve been wanting to do for a really long time and I finally just did it. I can’t even begin to describe how wonderful waking up early has been for me. I haven’t been more productive in ways that I thought I would be with extra time on my hands. But I feel better about myself, for sure. It feels good to be able to journal daily and to just sit and think and plan and not feel bad that I’m taking time away from the other important things in my life. I think I had a lot of guilt before and it was one of the things holding me back from feeling fulfilled. Guilt about not being present with the kids and Andrew, guilt for expecting Andrew to carry more of the load than he already does, guilt for constantly dreaming about doing rather than just doing. I feel like I’ve gained back something in my life without sacrificing other parts of it. Yes, I am a little bit tired. And yes, I get greedy and am genuinely discouraged when this little amount of time I have is infringed upon – be it my unwillingness to get out of bed or by a kid who gets up earlier than usual. What’s the old saying – if I don’t have time, make time? (more…)