Gratitude

Hi friends! I have been in a completely non blogging mode as of late. Not without good reason though! Last year I hosted a Holiday Open House with myself and 3 other fabulous Etsy vendors. I was unsure if I would do it again this year but people kept asking so I decided to go for it. Note to self: Plan ahead. Although it’s tomorrow and I am sure it will be fabulous, I am EXHAUSTED! I have done nothing but craft for the past three weeks. I have glitter and burlap all over my house. Then there are the felt scraps. The awful hot glue burn {yes, I do plan to get a low heat one based on some smart recommendations!}. If someone could have video’d me when the burn occurred it would have been a sight. I was literally jumping up and down waiting for it to cool enough to get it off. When that happened it took a good layer of skin off of my finger. Ouch. I’m almost healed but seriously, glue gun burns HURT!  Aside from that there is the twigs that have fallen from the grapevine wreaths which I love but they also creep me out. Those things grab on to things. Like each other. It’s kinda weird. Aren’t they supposed to be ‘dead’ branches? They seem alive to me! Oh, Mod Podge? It’s fabulous but leaves some messy residue so I just finished using a razor blade to get the gunk off of my counters. Then there was paint. Chalkboard, spray and just regular old white paint. I have been a busy girl and I hope I don’t crash come Tuesday cause that is when I start my new job. Yep, I will be a part time out of the home working girl {cause I am a full time at home working girl already}. Anyway, I am excited and nervous just for the adjustment. I think it’s gonna be a great fit for the fam and me which is the most important thing.

That is what brings me to this post. I am tired and I have been working my butt off. My motive for this event is to make some money for Christmas. Why not? I know I make stuff that sells and it’s the perfect time of year to mingle and sell. But I had this thought tonight. In my self consumption with ‘crafting’ even though it is really not for selfish motives, I have been crabby with the peeps in my house. Tonight after I got the kids to bed I started feeling guilty cause I was rushing them to get to bed. Why? For myself. Because I am trying to take every moment to prepare for 3 hours tomorrow night. I’ve got this. I am ready to go aside from house cleaning and set up but that part isn’t the all consuming part. So basically I had a little talk with myself tonight and it went something like this, “Self, you need to slow down and smell the roses. Rushing won’t get you anywhere any faster. Your kids are growing up super fast and these 5 minutes here and there with them are so small in the scheme of life but they are huge to them and then ultimately they are huge to you. Be nice. It’s not all about you.” Yes, I really did have this conversation with myself. Then I hopped on Facebook for a minute and saw this fabulous quote. It fit my feelings perfectly.

It is now midnight which seems to be my new bedtime as of late. I am tired. What I really want to do is crawl into bed and snuggle with my boys. I won’t wake them but I will be giving them extra big hugs in the morning with a little extra words of love. The hubby? Yep – he has felt my frantic and stressed behavior as well but thankfully for him, he gets to head to work for two days at a time so he kinda misses it 😉 I have to say I am glad he can escape me and my crazy for a few days!! So I dedicate this post to my boys {the littles and the big}. I love them deeply and wholeheartedly. I just have to remember to show them that everyday.

So tomorrow I will start my day off with a Venti iced coffee, a smile and  a grateful heart. Enjoy your week friends. I will be back soon with some of the fun creations that I have been working on.

Feeling Blessed

As I sit here tonight I feel completely overwhelmed. There are so many emotions flooding through me right now. I am just feeling extremely blessed. Aside from the fact that I got a job that I think will be a fabulous fit for the family/life balance today {woot woot}, I also felt an  over whelming amount of support from my girlfriends and family who are my constant cheerleaders. Of course the lead up to just why I feel so lucky to have the friends I have is a whole other long story but lets just say it’s been a journey of love and loss but I found my way to my sister friends. The ones who know me and love me and support me. Sorry, huge run on sentence but I can not explain in words how happy my heart is for the love I feel from my girls!

Now onto another reason I’m a bit emotional tonight. A few weeks ago I received an email from a friend. There were three of us on the strand. Two of whom have never met but I was the common bond. You see, several years ago my friend, Jodi had breast cancer. She started a journal called The Boob Scoop. I sent it to several of my close girlfriends because I was so inspired by her attitude to kick cancers ass. This caused this instant bond between many. I have to say that my friend Kim is one of the sweetest people you will ever meet. She is always looking out for others. She is warm and fuzzy and kind. Her and Jodi struck up a friendship over Facebook {which I have to say is one reason I really love Facebook – I have met some very inspiring people there}. Jodi, Kim and I often seem to be on the same page as far as looking our for others and if nothing else, sending love and prayers when needed.

Back to the email. When Jodi first emailed Kim and I, she was telling us her situation and working through the scenarios in her head. Jodi is cancer free but she recently got tested for the genes that causes a greater re-occurrence of not only breast cancer but also ovarian cancer. As a matter of fact her chances for reoccurring are 95%. Wow. What a staggering statistic. This being said, she knew she had some choices to make. She is a mom of two children so I think that in itself makes this a no brainer {although still a big pill to swallow}. She opted for a double mastectomy and a complete hysterectomy. Plus reconstructive surgery. Holy crap. Doesn’t that seem like a lot? Well it is but there is more. Because she recently went through a divorce, she only has medical insurance through the end of the year. She is working hard at a sales job but as of now, the insurance of her ex husband is what covers her medical bills. Here we are on November 5th and she had the first surgery today.

I don’t see Jodi often. However the bond we have on Facebook and all of inspiring notes that go back and forth have her heavy on my mind and in my heart. As a woman, I can only imagine losing parts of yourself that make you a woman {in a physical sense}. They are just parts though. If they are not healthy and could affect your over all well being then is worth keeping them? I wouldn’t.

As the day passed and the clock ticked I did not see any updates so I started to worry. I mean this was a very routine surgery but still. I posted on her wall awhile ago that I was waiting for the thumbs up and shortly after it came. From her. I can not tell you the flood of relief that just washed over me. It took me a bit by surprise.  First it was in the form of ‘liking’ my comment and then the photo of her smiling with a real thumbs up came. Tears.

I know she has a long road of recovery ahead of her. She is strong. She has a support system. She has the love of her beautiful children. She is already a surviver.

So as I trek along in life I realize how easy it is to not remember how lucky we are. We all get caught up on ‘stuff’ but although it is only human of us to melt down over the small things we often forget that sometimes the most basic things like boobs and a uterus are things we take for granted. If yours are healthy and not putting you at a high risk of of being sick then that makes you pretty lucky, right?

So I guess what I am saying is this: parts are just parts and if not having them helps you be healthy then so be it. Good riddance, good bye, adios! But if you are lucky enough to have healthy parts then be thankful for that as well. Be thankful that you don’t have to make big choices like this.

Oh, something else totally crazy about this whole story? I have another friend that went through a double mastectomy a couple of years ago and she recently tested positive for the gene and had a complete hystarectomy as well. Wow. Two friends in a matter of weeks. This yuckiness is way too common.

So that being said, if you are in my circle — I’m gonna cry for you and cheer you on throughout the good, bad and ugly. Jodi — I dedicate this post to you. You ARE a surviver and an inspiration my friend!!

 

 

Day 25: 31 Days of Being Present – Disneyland

Well sometimes the best of intentions go array!! I had to skip several days of my 31 days series. I had the best of intentions to pre write my posts and set them to actually post while I was on vacation and then the unspeakable happened {gasp!}. My wifi went out at home!! Yes, this happened right before we left for a 4 day family vacation. We returned late Monday afternoon but after a busy few days, I just got on the phone with our provider yesterday afternoon and a new modem is on it’s way. So I have had very spotty computer access and well, attempting a blog post from my cell phone is far too complicated for me!! Today I am typing this from my local Nugget Market. I’m here all the time buying groceries so hey, why not blog from here? 😉

What can I say about the past several days? Was I present? I think so. We did a family trip to Disneyland. We loaded the van up with our family of 4 plus my dad and sister. We spend three days at the parks. How can you not be present at Disneyland? On day #1 we were luck enough to be joined by my brother, Michael and super adorable nephew, Maverick. My poor sister in law got hit hard by the stomach flu the night before. Bummer!! It was a 24 hour bug so she was able to come and spend the day with us on Sunday {my brother works for Disney Studios so they get in for free — so they can pop over whenever they please. Nice eh?} My other sister, Carly also joined us for a few hours on our first day. Seeing my So Ca family is a wonderful thing!!

That’s my family. There are 4 of us but I am the oldest {and most awesome — just kidding!!}. Well I am the oldest 😉 Carly lives in So Ca and so does my brother and his family. My youngest sister, Holly and my dad are local. My dad does not like to look at the camera and my nephew was shocked by the flash. Sorry dude. I didn’t mean to scare you! My kids are so lucky to have amazing aunts and uncles on both sides of the family.

So day #1 was running between parks, spending time with family, riding rides that were awesome {Haunted Mansion at Halloween? Amazing!!}, eating yummy {but bad for you} foods and of course I was in charge of rocking my nephew to sleep. Poor me uh? Who am I kidding — I love rocking babies to sleep!! He made me work for it though. I don’t think I have ever sang Rock a Bye Baby so many times in a row! It worked though. Conked out little fella! Happy and asleep in his Auntie’s arms.

Day #2 was more of the same except we really didn’t spend too much time at Disneyland. It was so incredibly crowded that we felt like cattle being pushed through. It was tight quarters every where we turned. So after a few rides and lunch at Downtown Disney, we headed back to California Adventure. I have to say, I actually love that park more. It has had a total overhaul since we were there two years ago and it is amazing!! I mean seriously. Cars Land is up and running. That was my favorite place to be. It really felt like you were in the movie. I don’t think they could have made it any better. Every detail was covered from characters driving through, cozy cone snack shacks and the buttes. Wow. It was seriously breathtaking. Plus I loved the energy. The music was so fun and everyone was just happy.

Day #3 was all about getting on the Cars Racers so we basically got to the park when it opened. Thankfully my sister Holly is a bit of a pro since she just went to Disney about a month ago. She navigated for us to get this ride done. There are so many rides throughout the parks but the most popular by far was the Radiator Springs Racers. This was a must do. Worth the wait but there is an average two hour wait time. Even the past Fast Pass line was an hour wait right when the park opened. This is when we hustled over to the actual ride which was 1 hour right when it opened. Any other time of day it was 2 hours. We only did it once but it was super cool. We still waited awhile but it was so worth it. Let me just say, I am not a roller coaster kind of girl. This ride has a minute of  ‘racing’ {cause McQueen is all about the speed you know}. I was white knuckled during the race cause I’m a big baby but it was still so worth it. After that we managed to squeeze in other rides and then we headed out of the park for lunch and to meet my brother, sister in law and nephew. We also spend a little time at the Lego Store {I have an obsessed 7 year old who thought this trip was about him and the Lego Store and not so much the family and Disneyland!}. Afterwards we headed back to the park for some Animation Academy as well as Turtle Talk with Crush. We wrapped up our time with my brother and his fam with some delicious ice cream from Ghirardelli. They have the best sundaes and they are totally ginourmous share worthy. We continued on to some more rides and wrapped up the night watching World of Color. This was an amazing show but I will tell you, grab a fast pass for some better seating {I was told these are all gone by 1pm} and prepare to plant yourself about an hour before the show. It’s a great time to take a load off. Maybe grab some snacks and just chill. We did not do either of these things and we stood. It was such an amazing and beautiful show but after three days of nonstop walking, our feet were killing us so standing for that long {20 minutes} felt like an eternity and kinda took away from the experience.

A few of my favorite things:

  • Turtle Talk with Crush is a super cute interactive show with Crush from Finding Nemo.
  • California Soaring is a family favorite.
  • Starbucks {listen, it’s an addiction I tell ya!}
  • Pirates of the Carribean
  • Haunted Mansion
  • Toy Story Mania {another must}
  • Cars Land — all of it!
  • Churros {yes, really!}

Steve’s favorites:

  • Screamin’ {which I am terrified of!}
  • Grizzly River Run
  • Beer {we all have our vices}
  • Soaring
  • Big Thunder Mountain
  • Tower of Terror 

Ben’s favorite things:

  • Grizzy River Run
  • Goofy’s Flight School
  • Churros {takes after his mom}
  • Pirates of the Carribean
  • Pin Trading  {this was a new thing for us but Ben had a blast trading his pins with the cast members}
  • Disney Animation Academy
Mason’s favorite things:
  • Goofy’s Flight School
  • Grizzly River Run
  • Snacking {this kid carb loaded whenever he had the chance}
  • “italian icee” which was really just a Minute Maid frozen lemonade 😉
  • Mators Junkyard Jamboree 
  • The Lego store at Downtown Disney.
Where we stayed:
I am not one that likes to pay a lot for lodging when we won’t be at the hotel much {we are also on a pretty tight budget so we have to plan for that as well} We stayed at the Annabella during prior trips and this time we stayed at Best Western Stovall Inn. It was a great price and a short walk to the parks. Of course we cut through the California Grande which I think would be so fun — someday
Are you a Disney Fan? Do you have any tips to share? I’d love to hear them!!

 

Day 17: 31 Days of Being Present

Today has been a pretty busy day. We are leaving for Disneyland in two days so I am getting ready. Shopping, packing, cleaning, washing dogs. You know, all the stuff that goes with leaving your house. Why am I washing the dogs? Cause I have a dog/house sitter and these pups are stinky. I feel I owe her that much at least! So aside from gearing up for a trip, crafting, blogging and the kids school stuff — I ended up with visitors this afternoon. It was actually pretty funny. I was down to one child {the other one went fishing with his buddy}. My friend Jeff was coming over to put a luggage rack thingy {don’t I sound technical? Ha ha} on my van. Anyway, his wife, Jenelle, {who is this amazing kind of friend that any girl would be lucky to have} had driven separate and was heading home but I knew she wanted to come over. I know her so well! So anyway, I said, “Come on over”. She didn’t hesitate. So that happened which was awesome cause I planted my butt on the couch and just hung out. A rare but beautiful thing! Then I got a call from my friend Lisa who needed someone to watch her son so I said, “Of course’. So by this point there are now 4 happy children in my house and Legos everywhere. Well that wound down and Jenelle and her family left as Lisa and her hubby showed up. It felt like a revolving door and as much as I thought I was going to be prepping for my trip — I didn’t and I loved every second of being with people who mean so much to me. So the point of this day of being present? Friendship. Sometimes you put other things aside to spend quality time with people that make a difference in your world. I’m feeling pretty thankful for that 🙂

Free Fall Printables

I love words, quotes, etc — that being said, I have a little Pinterest board for printables and fonts. I’ve started my Fall decor and with that, I wanted to add a fun printable or two or three – you get the point! I am sharing a bunch of links with you for your own Fall decorating. Oh, just click on the photo or blogger name and you will be taken to the site to download your own prints. I’ve gotta send you back to the original creators <3 Enjoy!!

 

How to Nest for Less has two fun printables — one is a bucket list for the season. How cute!!

Lovely Little Details created this fun spin on Keep Calm in three colors.

Blooming Homestead created this in an array of colors. I love the words she chose.

How about these two matchy ones from Adventures of a Betty Crocker Wanna Be? Adorable!!

This is the one I printed for my own use. I just love all of the bright colors. You can find it over at Hopscotch Studio Designs.

I like that this one from the Pink Ink Doodle incorporates all of the months of Fall.

I used this one from Craftily Ever After for Thanksgiving last year. I <3 it!

I like that this one from It is what it is specifies September for all of us eager to get Fall going ASAP 🙂

Another favorite — I love the fun colors and fonts. Head on over to Antsi-Pants for your own printable.

The Letter 4 offered a very different take on showing love for Fall. I HAVE TO find a place for this one in my home. It is so true. I am all about this time of year.

 

I hope you enjoy these fun finds.

 

 

 

Hurrah for Teachers

I am not a teacher nor do I feel worthy of being one. I believe that it is one of the most challenging and underpaid careers out there {my own belief — please don’t yell at me if you feel different ;)}. I have friends and a sister that are teachers. I know that they work very hard and sometimes don’t get the respect that they deserve. I also know that I can barely manage my two kids and they manage upwards of 30. So again — they are rock-stars to me!! So aside from the fact that I think teachers rock, it also happens to be the kick off to a new school year. In honor of that and awesome teachers, I wanted to share some fun gifts to start your child’s teacher off on a happy note.rock-stars

Funky Polka Dot Giraffe created this super fun Teachers Survival Bucket. I actually created my own version of this which you will see below.

Below is my version, I left a few things off of the list and switched up a few things {I added a Starbucks gift card but didn’t add the reusable cup} but I think it came out super cute.

The list of what is included — Funky Polka Dot Giraffe has a printable which is much cuter but I had to delete some things so I recreated my own and I don’t have many fonts on my Mac yet. Click here for her free downloadable print. I did add a few school days stickers after I took these photos which dressed them up a bit.

My basket – using baskets I already had {from the Target dollar bins at Christmas time}.

Happy Clippings offered up this idea by repurposing an old can, wrapping colored pencils around it, securing with a  rubber band and pretty ribbon and then using it as a vase by adding some pretty flowers.

 

The Diary of Dave’s Wife did a cute little gift using a soda and a printable that says, “Soda-lighted you are my teacher.” She has the printable on her site. So cute and simple!!

Oh Whipperberry, how I <3 you!! This idea using a rain boot is adorable!!

Catered Crop was showcasing some stamps but I thought this jar of  licorice with the attached, “You’re the sweetest” was a perfect teacher treat.

Everyday Scrapbook added a bunch of pencils to a reusable iced coffee cup {or tea .. or water.. or vodka, wait – did I say that?}. I love these cups and they make for a great gift alone but stocked full of pencils? Awesome!! Maybe stick a Starbucks gift card in the inside too?

Brandy’s Crafts is right up my alley with her ‘One Smart Cookie’ teacher gift. Cause I like to bake cookies and stuff 😉

I hope you enjoyed these fun and creative ideas <3 Remember, be thankful for your teachers — they work so hard!!

 

 

Mission Accomplished — kinda

I was just looking at a post from a few weeks back and I realized that I actually accomplished ‘something’. Woo hoo! Love when I can do this to my To Do List

This was a list of my ongoing projects from February 27th.

  • Taking photos and listing things on Craigslist.
  • Using Stitch Witchery to hem my bedroom curtains {OK, not really but I really thought about doing it today}.
  • Obsessing Thinking about my master bedroom redo.
  • Painting a dresser for my master bedroom redo.
  • Gathering items that I no longer need for a future {no date set} yard sale.
  • Doing laundry.
  • Making lunches for my kids for tomorrow.
  • Finishing up a few wreaths.
  • Picking a new paint color for my dining room niches.
  • Starting my new part time gig {which oddly enough is organizing paperwork for a non profit}.
  • Staring at the paperwork, birthday cards, old magazines and Cub Scout awards from last night as they sit on my counter.

Wow, I actually feel like I got some stuff done. Since then I have also almost finished my 6 year old’s bedroom redo complete with repainting his walls. I hung new curtains.  I even painted the niches {see above on choosing a paint color}. Now the laundry and lunches are an on-going chore so I  would be crossing them off and adding them again daily. Still, I feel pretty good about things!

The master bedroom is a work in progress. I decided to refinish my nightstands and bed. Soon enough they will be complete and with a few minor accessories, the whole room will be complete. Then I can say, “Ta da!!!”.

Oh, something else REALLY cool happened to me since my last post — I became an Auntie!! I officially became an Auntie when I got married but they were all half grown {and are now adults going to college, having their own babies, etc}. I have two sisters and a brother. Both sisters are saying, “No way, uh uh” to babies but my brother and my adorable sister in law just had their first. Eeeek! I am so excited but … they live in So Ca and due to my life here {hubby out of town for work and having my own kiddos to tend too}, I have yet to meet him. For now I stare at the pics that come my way and think, “I can hardly wait to love on this little guy”.  So aside from tackling my to do list, I became an Auntie. Yeah me!! Hee hee.

Oh, and the blog redo — That is also coming along. It’s actually harder then I thought to come up with my own design .. well kinda my own, I really owe the design and graphics kudos to Kendra over at Key Lime Digital Designs. It’s more the layout, fonts, sidebar, etc that I am trying to make my own.

Up next? Some of my favorite Pinterest recipes as well as a post for my friend Kim over at This and That with Kim Funk. We are going to discuss office clutter and how to get rid of it. Or at least how to ‘try’ and contain it 😉

I hope you are staying dry and if not, I hope you are dancing in the rain!

The Grace Foundation, for the love of all animals

There is something so special about this time of year. The “holiday season” seems to kick off on October 1st. Well, in my life it does! I feel like there are festivals, events, gatherings, holidays and all of the in-between for the last three months of the year. I love it. All of it and I feel that it is so fleeting {hence why I have been so MIA — so much busyness happening, more on that in another post}. October feels like a month of just enjoying Fall. The harvest festivals, picking out Halloween costumes, pumpkin patches, carving pumpkins, decorating for both fall and perhaps turning our front yards into a scary sight for all to see come October 31st. Then there is November. November is a bit of calm before the madness of December catches starts. November is a month of blessings. A month of sharing what you are thankful for. A month of “giving thanks”. That being said, I wanted to share something that has made me thankful this month. It is a wonderful organization that I have recently had the honor of coming into contact with.

The Grace Foundation is a place I had heard of. I knew the basics, that they rescued horses and other animals from dier situations in hopes of loving them, healing them and hopefully finding them a forever home. Of course knowing that this type of business is run mostly on love, community support, lots of generous donors and wonderful people that volunteer their time makes it all the more amazing. Recently my sister started volunteering at The Grace Foundation and with that came more information and an invite to a fundraising event that happened a few weeks ago. Upon my tour I realized how much work goes into the foundation. There were countless horses, sheep, a pig and lots of goats as well as some dogs needing a new home. If you have been following along with the local media, you may have heard of the Susanville 70. This is where 56 horses {18 of which are expecting foals} were rescued from a gruesome scene. This video shows the resilience of 3 of these horses. Grab a Kleenex!

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yQ0jZbkVgdM&feature=youtu.be[/youtube]

The woman telling the story is Beth De Caprio,  the founder of Grace. I was blessed enough to meet her on November 1st. There is something amazing that happens when animals are near her. They feel safe, happy and connected. I saw this in the short amount of time I spent with her.  Not only does Beth take the time to help animals in need, she also runs a variety of other programs utilizing the love and compassion that animals possess. There are summer vet programs, equine therapy programs, riding lessons, birthday parties, volunteer programs and so much more.

As the holiday season approaches, many of us think of charity. What and where can we give to enrich others. The Grace Foundation is always in need of supplies, gift cards and money to help take care of the animals. My husband and I host an annual holiday party and we always choose an organization to donate too. This year we chose Grace.  We provide a wish list and ask our guests to donate. It is always a well received idea and makes us feel like we are helping those in need. Think about how the smallest amunt of money can make a difference.  If you donate just $10, it will but one bale of hay which will feed 14 horses one meal. What a small amount that can make such a big difference. In the words of Mother Theresa, “If you can’t feed a hundred people, then just feed one”. I love this quote and it has been in my head since November 1st.

November 1st — why is this date popping up in this blog post? Well on November 1st, I went to Grace Foundation to meet Oreo. This was after my sister posted a sad photo of this sweet boy and asking for someone to love him cause he was so sad. Well that was all it took. I Wanted him to be happy. Actually I am pretty practical when it comes to animals as I know they take a lot of work. I love them but I want to be 100% ready to give what an animal needs for life. So this being said, I grabbed the boys and we hopped in the car and headed on over to Grace. After meeting Oreo, I just felt that he HAD TOcome home with us. My hubby was at work and was he very apprehensive about adding someone new to our house. We have a 10 year old lab mix that we have had since she was 8 weeks old. She is very well trained and easy. We are ‘fostering’ Oreo {who we have renamed Ollie} until the hubs gives me the green light. I think he is warming up to the idea. This 10 month old boy found his way to us. He is sweet, funny and awfully cute. Wanna see?

I was touched so much by this organization and how it helps so many sweet animals who don’t have a voice that I had to share it with you. Can you make a difference in the life of  others? For more information on The Grace Foundation, please click here.

Old Fashioned Thank You Notes

I have always been a lover of cards — all cards. Birthday, blank, just for fun and thank you cards. I have to say that I have no idea where I got this so called skill of sending thank you cards. No one ever installed it in me growing up yet it is part of who I am. I even worked as an assistant manager for a Hallmark store just over 10 years ago. That job was so much fun and so dangerous! A discount and layaway? I was all stocked up on any type of greeting card you can think of as well as boxes of thank you notes.

This is a fresh topic right now as my youngest and I just had birthdays at the end of July. One of my guy friends was making fun of my thank you card sending and said I should design an app {yes, I have since heard that there are several} to send a than you note on the spot. Well I disagree — I want to write a personal note, address the envelope and send it off in the mail. Who doesn’t love getting something personal in the mail? I know I do! I do get compliments when the thank you notes come from my kids. Ben can now write his own {at the age of 8} but I still write them for my little one {who just turned 6} but I have him sign them. It still makes it personal and they are aware of the sentiment of thank you cards.

This morning I came across these cute fill in the blank cards over at Jones Design Company. She has so many fun tutorials and paper goods over at her site so be sure and check it out!

Jones Design Company

How about you? Do you send virtual or paper thank you notes?

88 Ways to Make a Stranger Smile

Happiness is a mental state of well-being characterized by positive emotions ranging from contentment to intense joy.

A friend posted a link to this blog on Facebook tonight. Of course I got pulled in {that seems to happen a lot in blog-land!} but this site was so full of positive stuff that I just kept on reading. It is called Marc and Angle Hack Life, Practical Tips for Productive Living. Yeah, see what I mean? How could I walk away from that! 😉 One of the things they had posted was 88 Ways to Make a Stranger Smile. I of course {heart} this! Click here to visit their site but read on for 88 Ways to Make a Stranger Smile 🙂

  1. Smile often.
  2. Hold a door open for someone.
  3. Pay for the person in line behind you.
  4. Send a hand-written thank you card to someone who assisted you with something.
  5. Clean out all your old clothes and donate them to someone in need.
  6. Give a compliment about a waiter, waitress, sales clerk, etc. to his or her manager.
  7. Compliment a stranger’s appearance.  Flatter them.
  8. Leave encouraging post-it notes in a library books and other random places.  (Read Operation Beautiful.)
  9. Help an elderly person carry something.
  10. Send flowers to someone anonymously.
  11. Be a courteous driver.  Let people merge in front of you.
  12. Volunteer at a children’s hospital or nursing home.
  13. Donate blood.
  14. Buy house warming gifts for new neighbors.
  15. Introduce yourself.  Make new colleagues, classmates, etc. feel welcome.
  16. Inspire others online.  (Check out Makes Me Think.)
  17. Send letters of appreciation to business owners/managers and other people who support you.
  18. Treat everyone with the same level of respect you’d give to your grandfather.
  19. Give everyone the same level of patience you’d have with your baby sister.
  20. Appreciate people the way they are.
  21. Share your lunch or a snack with someone who doesn’t have one.
  22. Put some change in an expired parking meter.
  23. Check up on someone who looks lonely.
  24. Tell your boss, teacher or professor that he or she is doing a great job and that you appreciate what they’ve taught you.
  25. Create places and things for others to enjoy.  Like decorating your house for the holidays or creating a piece of art.
  26. If you overhear that it’s someone’s birthday, go out of your way to wish them a happy one.
  27. Ask someone for their opinion or advice.
  28. Bring cookies or bagels to work for everyone.
  29. Tip waiters and waitresses well when they deserve it.
  30. Be a part of something you believe in.  Those around you will notice your enthusiasm.  (Read The Alchemist.)
  31. Leave a thank-you note for the office janitors.
  32. Help bag your own groceries at the checkout counter.
  33. Offer your seat to someone when there aren’t any left.
  34. Let someone with only a few items cut you in line at the grocery store.
  35. Wave to a kid in the car next to you.
  36. Spread good news.
  37. Repeat something nice you heard about someone else.
  38. Remember people’s names and address them accordingly.
  39. When you make eye contact with someone, smile.
  40. Replace what you’ve used.  For example, fill up the copier or printer with paper after you’re done using it.
  41. Share your umbrella on a rainy day.
  42. Listen intently to people’s stories without trying to fix everything.
  43. Dance with someone who hasn’t been asked.
  44. Call a stranger’s attention to a beautiful sunset or full moon.  (Check out What Money Cannot Buy.)
  45. Give words of encouragement toward someone’s dream, no matter how big or small it is.
  46. Ask someone who enjoys cooking for a recipe.
  47. Let someone else eat the last slice of pizza or cake.
  48. Stop and buy a drink from a kid’s lemonade stand.
  49. Help someone get your parking space in a crowded parking lot when you’re leaving.
  50. Ask someone you see every now and then if they’ve lost weight.
  51. Do a little something extra to make someone else’s life easier.
  52. Use all the manners you learned in Kindergarten.
  53. Listen to someone’s pain and help them find a path through it.
  54. Give without expecting to get back.
  55. Encourage others to do one unanticipated kind or helpful act at least once a week.
  56. Observe everyone without judging.
  57. Say “Please” and “Thank you.”
  58. Forgive and let go of anger.  For instance, if somebody accidentally cuts you off in traffic, just let it go.
  59. Believe in yourself with all of your heart.  People will notice.
  60. Don’t be so serious all the time.  (Read The Happiness Project.)
  61. Treat every small interaction with another person as an opportunity to make a positive impact in both your lives.
  62. Greed, anger and ignorance.  Avoid all three.
  63. Speak the truth.
  64. Teach others how to make a difference by setting an example.
  65. Help others be independent.
  66. Give people the space they need.
  67. Lend your shoulder to cry on.
  68. Offer encouragement after a failure.
  69. Acknowledge people for a job well done.
  70. Tell a good joke.
  71. Clean up after yourself.
  72. Excel at what you do.  People appreciate professionals.
  73. Create a care package and send it to an active duty military unit.
  74. Redirect gifts.  Instead of having people give you birthday and holiday gifts, ask them to donate gifts or money to a good cause.
  75. Stop to help.  The next time you see someone pulled over with a flat tire, or in need of assistance, stop and ask how you can help.
  76. Put a small personal touch on everything you do.  People notice and appreciate individuality.
  77. Take the time to teach someone a skill you know.
  78. Help someone get active.  There’s a coworker or acquaintance in your life who wants to get healthy, but needs a helping hand.  Offer to go walking or running together, to join a gym together.
  79. Send a nice email to a tech support representative who has assisted you.
  80. Donate food to a charity.
  81. Stand up for someone.  Lend your voice. Often the powerless, the homeless, the neglected in our world need someone to speak up for them.
  82. If you see a couple taking a self-pic, offer to take the picture for them.
  83. Help the weary shopper in front of you who needs that extra two or three cents to avoid breaking a 20-dollar bill.
  84. Come to the rescue.  If you realize someone is sick, bring them some hot tea, etc.
  85. Stand up for your beliefs without flaunting them.
  86. Make yourself available and approachable.
  87. Over-deliver on all of your promises and obligations.
  88. Be positive and focus on what’s right.