26 Random Acts of Kindness

Last Friday was a horrific day for a small little town called Newtown, Connecticut. It shook all of us. I still can not even fathom the grief these parents are feeling. Their children and family members killed in a senseless violent crime. I think all of us are just not able to wrap our heads around any of it. I don’t want to get on a soap box about mental illness, stricter gun laws and how much the media focuses on the killer. All of that has been swimming around in my head and I wish there was a solution to stop this kind of hurt from ever happening to another person EVER AGAIN. But, because we can only go forward  – I wanted to share this with all of you and see if you can spread some kindness? I saw a quote the other day while driving on the freeway, it said, “Kindness is contagious, catch it”.  It’s been on repeat in my head. If we could all practice kindness perhaps the world will breathe a little easier.

I know that as a parent I am constantly battling my kids. It’s things like them constantly wanting material things or fighting as siblings do. I am always trying to remind them to be kind and that they are so fortunate to have so many basics that others are lacking. I don’t feel that I spoil my children but a sense of entitlement comes from somewhere. I want to change that. I think this 26 Acts of Kindness will help plant some seeds of kindness. One of my oldest and dearest friends shared this idea with me and now I am passing it along to all of you {thanks Jenn — love you!!}

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Can you do 26 Random Acts of Kindness in memory of the 26 lives lost? Go here or here for some ideas. I’ve also read quite a few different opinions that there are only 26 acts and not 28. I feel that it is a personal and individual choice as to whether you honor the shooter and his mom, who are also both dead. A few people had suggested donating towards mental health services. Again, how you decide to proceed is a very personal choice.

As quickly as this can become a political & religious discussion, lets step away from that and do what we can to honor the sweet souls lost that day. Many of whom were the same age as my baby. Earlier this week I was able to be in the classroom helping to run his Christmas Party. Never have I felt so blessed to be in that classroom surrounded by sweet, smiling faces, an amazing teacher and adoring parents. What a gift.

Can you practice 26 Random Acts of Kindness? I bet you can 🙂 I know we will be starting tomorrow.

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.

Weekend Halloween Fun

Are you looking for some fun Halloween events this weekend? Look no more! I am sharing some of the fun with you. Halloween truly is a special time of year and so much fun for all. Seeing the costumes and creativity is one of my favorite parts. Well and the ahem, candy stuff. Yeah, I do love me some chocolate 🙂 My kids don’t really get things like Almond Joys, Heath Bars or Butterfingers. Those “disappear”. Poof! Magic on Halloween.

Hands 4 Hope is putting on their 2nd annual Haunted House. It is openThursday from 6pm-9pm, Fri- Sat from 6pm – 10pm, Sunday 5pm-8pm and 5:30pm – 7:30pm on Halloween. . They are located in Town Center. The cost for entry is $8.00. I hear it is pretty scary!  Click here for more details.

Town Center is also hosting a Halloween event on Oct. 31st. Trick or Treat from 4pm – 6pm and enter the costume contest for dogs and kids {serious cuteness to be seen!!} at 5:30pm.

Are you looking for some Halloween fun and dancing? Check out the dance party in Cameron Park. GP Productions will be playing dance music from 7pm – 11pm. Click here for more details.

Ravenblood Mortuary Haunted House is up and running next to Raley’s in EDH. This is not for the faint of heart so you must be at least 10 years old to enter. Cost is $10/8 with a student ID. Proceeds benefit Bikers Against Child Abuse, Soldiers’ Angels and Sons of Italy. You can purchase tickets at americascreams.showclix.com or at the door.

If you want to check out a spooky house – head on over to Waterford. The Sheffield Drive home of David Michael has an eery pirate theme with lots to see.

The Forest of Lost Souls will also be up and running this weekend. The El Dorado Food Bank is partnering with this event to raise food for those in need. This event runs the 29th – 31st. Kids under 10 can get in for free with 2 canned food items. They must be accompanied by an adult.Head on over to their site by clicking here. You will find details on price, donations and scary versus not so scary times.

If you are visiting Apple Hill this weekend, head over to Appleridge Farms for Halloween goodie bags on the 29th and 30th {while supplies last}. Grandpa’s Cellar has a Haunted Nature Trail on Oct. 27th – 31st from 10am – 4pm. Weather pending.

Of course there is also the Night of a Thousand Pumpkins and Fall Festival happening in Folsom this weekend. Click here for my previous post on this weekend of fun.

Are you looking for some fun and fabulous {and oh so spooky} Haunted Houses in the Sacramento area? News 10 shares some of the best. Click here for locations and details.

Do you have a favorite Halloween Haunt? I’d love to share it with my readers.

Donation Based Yoga Classes in Folsom — A Happy Heart

Just after the holidays I was feeling blue. This happens every January and I call it the post holiday let down. I am sure some of you out there have experienced the same thing! I don’t like it. My most favorite time of year just zooms on by and I am sad that it happens so fast. Too fast. I decided I wanted to try something new to pull myself out of this funk. Something for both my body and mind. For about 8 months one of my best friend’s had been going to Zuda Yoga. She was hooked and wanted me to try it. I heard what she was saying yet I was always detoured by the cost. “What if I love it like you? How can I justify the cost?” Mind you so many of us pay gym memberships that equal to a little less but still — I had quit the gym to save money. Finally in January I made a little agreement with myself {and my hubby}. To give this whole yoga thing a go for 3 months. It it truly was therapeutic, then it would be worth it. Well here I am four months later and I am hooked. I bumped into another mom today that also goes. She said the same thing, “What is it about that place?”. When you have to miss it for awhile {illness, busy life, etc} you truly feel like something is missing. Now just so you know, this is not some peaceful yoga where you do some stretching {as my hubby though when I first started!}. This is 75 minutes of Vinyasa Yoga which is done in a room that is about 90 degrees. You sweat, you twist, you might even laugh or grunt. The music is uplifting and the mood is upbeat. I am so out of my element but somehow, it all feels right. Now with all of that being said I have to do a little plug for my new found love. My dear friend, Leslie, who talked this practice up to me starting over a year ago has now went on to take Zuda teacher training and she has recently started teaching a couple of classes that are called Karma Classes. This is where you can jump on in and feel the benefits while helping someone in need. I might sound cheesy but I swear, it’s like a hug 🙂

Here are the details: Located at Zuda Yoga in Folsom, every Monday & Wednesday from 1:15-2:30 you can take a 75 minute donation based class. It is the same as every other class on the schedule except these classes are DONATION BASED. Pay what you can afford and donations go to Zuda teacher Jessie Quinn who was diagnosed with Leukemia. So share the love and the positive karma flow.

A few other details about the benefits of yoga:

  • Increased flexibility
  • Massaging of all body organs
  • Complete detoxification
  • Muscle toning
  • Increasing lubrication of the joints, ligaments and tendons
  • All of these are great reasons but my most favorite reason? Mood! My mind feels so much happier when I squeeze in three days of yoga a week. Rumor has it that it does wonders for depression, anxiety & stress.

I also came across this great little website {where the info above came from}. Check it out at healthandyoga.com.

“Anyone who practices can obtain success in yoga but not one who is lazy.  Constant practice alone is the secret of success.”~Svatmarama, Hatha Yoga Pradipika

Please pass this post along — spread some sunshine. Namaste.

Munchie Musings On-Line Bake Sale

Munchie Musings was added as a friends recent “like” on her Facebook page and I was intrigued. Well I checked them out and saw an on-line bake sale happening NOW. This sale benefits Japan and there are many local bakers as well as a sprinkling of local restaurants that are donating to this auction. The catch: It ends TODAY! So hurry on over and check it out — can you place a bid? You can click here for more info. Bidding happens either directly on their page OR on Facebook.

Valentine Cupcakes with a Sweet Message

Aren’t these so fun? Super easy too!!Better Homes and Gardens shares this sweet idea for telling your loved one how you feel on Valentine’s Day. And for the record? The cookies used are tasty on their own 🙂 Read on for an easy “how to” for these special cupcakes.

Letter Perfect

Put down that messy piping bag! Here’s an easier way: Glaze alphabet cookies with thin icing, then sprinkle with colored sugar. Perch atop frosted cupcakes.
Trader Joe’s Cinnamon Schoolbook Cookie

Do you make special Valentine’s treats for your family?

Give: Local Food Banks

Tis the season — right? Most of us are in our warm and cozy homes. We have plenty of food to eat, probably  an overabundance of food. There are so many out there who do not have these simple things that we may take for granted. If you are looking to help those in need this season, here are three great organizations to check out:

Raley’s also has a great program. For $10 you can buy over 25 pounds of groceries. Please click here to see details on the Give a Bag Program. I do this at least once a season. This is part of the Food for Families Program. Click here for more information on Food for Families.

Happy Holidays.

Garnish ~ A Fun Way to Package All Things

I have been stuck like glue to my computer for a day and a half. Wow. It’s been cool though. Getting things done, being resourceful, making new friends, etc. So in my constant searches for new and fun things to share with you I stumbled upon this fun site. Do you have gifts to give but need some type of packaging? Yet you still want it to seem like it came from you? Well check out this fun lil’ company. Garnish offers simple packaging for many of your homemade holiday needs. I really like this fun idea of a Gingerbread House Party.

The options are pretty endless. Sweet. Simple. To the point. I like it! Head on over to their site and see what other great ideas you might find.

Bee Thankful ~ 30 Days of Giving, Day 30

I hope you have enjoyed my 30 days of giving. Did you find something that you could give too? There are endless ideas for helping others — whether you are giving money, donating your time or even items. But did you know that you can give back in the most simple way? With your heart. Just by being kind, you can make the difference in someones day. That could mean simply smiling at someone or perhaps doing the “pay it forward” method {perfect idea: pay the toll of a car behind you on a toll bridge}. I came across this fabulous website that has ideas galore. What can you do to Help Others? Click here for more information — I assure you, it’s as easy as that! Have a blessed holiday season. Bee happy and take time to appreciate all that is around you 🙂

Bee Thankful ~ 30 Days of Giving, Day 29

Donate — anything and everything that doesn’t have a place in your home anymore. Typically we tend to do spring cleaning but perhaps this chilly weather will have you motivated long before Spring to purge your old things. Donationtown.org is full of information for local charities that will happily take your stuff. Remember, one persons trash is another persons treasure 🙂