2012 Ramblings and New Year Wishes

I have not been blogging as much. I started a new job back in mid November and it’s also been the holiday season so double whammy. The job came at a perfect time. I had been looking but not really getting any replies to resumes, etc. It’s a tough market and I just had a feeling that something would come via networking. And it did. A friend referred me to another mutual friend who needed a part time admin. {Perfect!} That is what I was looking for. It is a good fit for my family and helps with our monthly budget a bit. I realized how much less stressed I felt when I got my first ‘real’ paycheck. So this mama is acclimating to working out of the home after being an at home mama for 10 years. It’s good though. I feel pretty lucky to have landed this job. My boss and coworkers are all so nice. You can’t beat that. Oh, did I mention it’s an accounting office? Ask me how I feel again after tax season. Ha ha!! Just kidding 😉

December has been full of sadness for so many. It’s really been heavy on my mind as of late. Obviously the tragedy in Connecticut hit close to home for so many. It left lots of questions on how we can make this world safer for our children. It made us question gun control {OK, I have questioned this a lot. I know my views and opinions don’t align with many so don’t yell out me if you disagree!}. It made us question mental illness and how we can better cope with people who suffer from mental illness. I think mostly it just made us feel helpless. It also made us enjoy our own babies more this holiday season.

Another story I have been following in our little community is the one called, Shane’s Village. It’s about a local 8 year old boy battling Leukemia. The updates both make me want to cheer him on and cry for him. Mostly I’d love to give him a big giant hug. And his mama, I want to hug her too. My heart hurts for him and his family as they battle this disease. He’s this amazing little soul who continues to smile through the ‘yuck’ of a serious disease. What an inspiration.

There have also been several deaths from cancer and other serious illnesses this past month. Several people I know have felt loss first hand and they are trudging through the holiday season with a heavy heart. My heart hurts for their losses.

Last night I found out that one of my dearest friend’s has a sick little girl. She is in the PICU with fluid around her heart. They are not sure what has caused this. Medicine has not alleviated the problem so they are exploring other options. My girlfriend has also suffered from various autoimmune issues for years so the stress this puts on her is also not good. I’m sending many get well wishes their way tonight!! Maybe you can join me in doing so?

Then today came along — I was cruising along, running some errands alone as my sister took the boys to spend their Christmas money {awesome Auntie!}. Anyway, my phone rings and it’s her. She says in a tearful voice, “Don’t panic, everyone is OK”. Yikes. Not a call I wanted to get. They had been in a minor car accident. Everyone was OK but shaken up. Of course the 20 minute drive from Folsom to Roseville felt like a million miles. My babies are OK. My sister is OK. It was scary but could have been so much worse. So I am feeling extremely blessed to have healthy and safe kids but I am also hyper aware of how quickly that can change.

So going into 2013 can I ask for world peace and healthy children? Seems like a an easy enough task? Sigh. If only.

With that I am leaving you with a few of my favorite quotes – may you apply them in life. Along the way. When needed.

be kindsource

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let goSource

great thingsSource

live every day

 

Source

 

let goSource

small thingsSource

trySource

And last but certainly not least, I leave you with this:

just loveSource

I am so thankful for all of you that read my little blog. It makes my heart smile to see the comments and the shares. I love when you tell me that you tried and loved a recipe that I shared on my blog. Those of you who know me and read my posts know that I feel things whole heartedly and with this comes my emotions. The good, bad and ugly but no matter what my mood, I am always so thankful for all of the little things that really are the BIG things in life 🙂 I wear my heart on my sleeve and I may go from laughing to crying in a split second. I feel deeply. Then I share with all of you. Thank you for being there for my life!

What are your intentions for the new year? Whatever you do — do it with kindness and love. I wish you a new year with a happy heart and great blessings and love.

 

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.

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!!

 

Shine

My previous post on the  New Year shared the idea of picking a word to focus on for 2012. I had heard this idea from a friend and also some savvy blogger peeps. Well The Lettered Cottage is hosting a linky party discussing just that — the word!! I have actually been thinking on this for a couple of weeks now and I think it is actually a pretty hard choice! There are so many words that I love and that I could truly apply to my everyday life but I finally settled on one. My word of the year is SHINE. I chose this word because I am trying to create a couple of at home businesses. One being my blog and the other is my crafting business. I love the idea of shine because it is exactly what I am hoping to do this year both personally and professionally.

 “This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine.”

Do you have a word that you can apply to your goals this year? I’d love to hear it.

Sweet Baby Boy

I just came across this sweet poem. My boys are now 6 and almost 9 which I know is still little but they have grown so fast! My brother and his wife are also expecting a baby boy in March. I just shared this poem with her because I think it is true – and tissue worthy. Mama’s of boys, enjoy.

 

It’s 3 a.m., they’re all asleep,
and no-one’s here to see.
As we rock slowly back and forth,
My baby boy and me.
His little hand is feather light
Tucked up against my chin.
I hold his tiny hand in mine,
and stroke his baby skin.
The house about us creaks and groans,
The clock hands creep around.
He snuggles closer to me still,
And makes his baby sounds.
I love these quiet hours so much,
And cherish every one.
Store memories up inside my heart
For lonely nights to come.
All too soon he’ll be grown up,
His need for mama gone.
But until then I still have time
For kisses and for song.
Time for quiet hours like this
With him cuddled in my arms,
Where I wish he’d always stay
Protected, safe and warm.
And yet I know the day will come
When his tiny little hand,
will be bigger than my own.
He’ll grow to be a man.
But until then he’s mine to love
With no one here to see.
As we rock slowly back and forth,
My baby and me.
~Author Unknown

How to Save Money at Target

I am not a coupon queen. Do I want to be? Well maybe just a little 😉 I do get excited when I save $$ and find deals. I am also very aware of watching what I buy and one of the most common comments out of my mouth when shopping with my kids {you know, when they are asking for every snack food ever invented?}, “If it’s not on sale, then I am not buying it”. I don’t really cut coupons but on occasion, I will utilize the store coupons given to me at checkout time.

Target — Oh how I adore Target. Whats not to love? It’s pretty much a one stop shop. I can get everything for my kids, cute clothes for me, toiletries and even food at Target. Recently my brother sent me this article on How to Save at Target. I think I have it pretty close to figured out but there were some tips that were new to me! First of all, I have to plug the Target Red Card. I do not use credit cards. Cash only is our motto these days but … you can get a Debit Red Card. You wonder what the perk is? Well let me tell you, you save 5% on each purchase. Instant savings people! Also, you can link the card to your kids school and then they get a kick back as well. Easy money. Free money. Yes, I said FREE $$!

A few more ways to save at Target:

  • Watch for sales, most stores run their sales adds from Sunday – Saturday but sales can change from regions and even stores within the same area (I did not know this!)
  • Watch for the free gift card deals. Sometimes you will get a $5 gift card for buying 2 or 3 of one particular brand or item. Might be worth the stock up! You know, on those really fun purchases like cat litter and dish soap. 😉
  • Target also offers on-line coupons with no limit to how many you use in one purchase {again — one can never have quite enough laundry soap, right?}. Tip: if you don’t want to print them from home cause you want to actually save your printer ink, you can print them AT TARGET. Yep, right from those lovely machines that do all of the gift registry business. Nifty! How about mobile coupons right to your phone? Click here to find out how this works.
  • There are also markdowns that occur every two weeks. This continues until items are gone and sales can go on until the item is 75% off. I will tell you that most of the good stuff sells FAST even with a 30% reduction so if you really like an item, go for it as soon as the sale hits.  Be sure to check end caps for sales items. This is also a great time to stock up on toys. That way you always have a gift on hand for last minute birthdays, etc.
  • Reusable bags — you get 5 cents for every bag you bring in. Every penny counts 😉

So there you have it, a few extra ways to save at Target. How do you save money when you shop?

If you do happen to be interested in couponing {which seems to be quite the trend!} then click here to find the top 5 places to grab coupons.

Peace

Source

Peace. It does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble or hard work. It means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in your heart. – Unknown

Get Happy ~ Or At Least Try!

I came across this quote yesterday on Etsy. “I have decided to be happy because it is good for my health”. I just put up my new chalk board and that is the 1st quote that went on it. Sometimes seeing it in print, makes me think about it more! Happiness is a great feeling. Of course to feel the highs, we have to experience the lows but how do you deal with the lows? I personally try and pull myself up to feel the highs. Sometimes I think, “This too shall pass”. Or another favorite saying as of late is this, I know ya’all have seen it cause it is everywhere. But I like the simplicity of the it.

Often I sift through magazines and read a lot of blogs. When I come across articles I like, I go ahead and set them aside. I have quite the folder! In my flipping through old articles today, I came across one on how to get happy. It’s from an issue of SHAPE from June 2000. No, I am not a hoarder 🙂

So a few tips from said article:

How you can get happy

  • Take control of your time. Set long-range goals and break then down into smaller tasks.
  • Savor the moment. It’s little pleasures that keep us happy.
  • Nurture your close relationships.
  • Exercise. It relieves mild anxiety and stress. {remember my previous post on yoga?}
  • Challenge yourself. Sharpen your skills at work and at play.
  • Explore your faith. Studios suggest that religiously active people are happier.
  • Smile. 🙂 Research shows that it automatically improves mood.
  • Rest. Make sure you get enough sleep and time alone.
  • Act as if you are happy. The motion can generate the emotion.

So what do you think? Are you a happy person?

Etsy Find — MB Art Studios

I came across this artist today on Etsy. I love how she uses clay with hand-stamped inspirational sayings. Head on over to MB Art Studios and see what inspires you! I love this little plate.

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.