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 šŸ˜‰

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 šŸ™‚ 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.

 

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 Ā – 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”. Ā 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 hereĀ 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 šŸ™‚ I know we will be starting tomorrow.

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! Ā 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 šŸ˜‰ 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 Ā 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 Ā over whelmingĀ 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. Ā 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 27: 31 Days of Being Present – Movie Night

Ah yes — kids movies. Sometimes you need motivation like popcorn and candy to get through it. More often then not, the fact that you child is so excited for movie night with his mommy and daddy is all the motivation one could want. Tonight was one of those nights. My oldest went to a haunted house with his Auntie while the little dude stayed home. We went to Raley’s earlier for some milk and other basics. Of course Redbox called and we were going home with a movie.

This is such a small thing but Mason spent the rest of the afternoon planning for it.Ā We would have popcorn with M&M’s and also the Nutter Butters that we bought ‘special’ for the night. He had his blanket and favorite stuffed animal and snuggled up to daddy {I wasn’t his person tonight}. It was really sweet and really it was just about hanging out, just us 3 doing what he wanted to do. It was a no brainer.

Sometimes being present just means doing what others want us to do. Spending the time watching this movie was special to him and that in itself made it special to me.

Photo taken summer 2012 — one of my favorites

Day 26: 31 Days of Being Present

This day of being present is brought to you by my super handsome and fabulously creative son, Mason. He got this Lego Hospital at Downtown Disney and he built it in under two hours. He is super focused when it comes to Legos and he is also super fast! This is the end result:

 

 

 

 

Pretty awesome uh? He was so proud that he had me take a photo send to his daddy at work. Daddy also thought it was pretty awesome.

 

 

 

 

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? šŸ˜‰

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 šŸ˜‰ 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 theĀ 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. WeĀ 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 Ā ‘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 TerrorĀ 

Ben’s favorite things:

  • Grizzy River Run
  • Goofy’s Flight School
  • Churros {takes after his mom}
  • Pirates of the Carribean
  • Pin TradingĀ Ā {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 šŸ˜‰
  • Mators Junkyard JamboreeĀ 
  • 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 AnnabellaĀ 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 6: 31 Days of Being Present

Today I am going to talk about being present while buying presents. I know, so many of you are just amazing at this task but there are many that struggle. I think this post might be perfect for so many husbands!! šŸ˜‰ Especially mine! Often times we run out at the last minute to get ‘something’ for that birthday party we have to attend. Is that ‘something’ special or does it literally look like you grabbed the first item you saw at the first store you were in? I love buying presents for people. I am thrifty, I admit it but not in a bad way!! I love to find deals but I am also very much about finding something special that is exactly what fits the person I am buying for. I often pick up things throughout the year just because I know it would make the prefect gift for a special somebody. I then stow the gift away in giant Rubbermaid container and pull them out as needed.

A few occasions which will warrant gifts: birthdays, hostess gift, retirement, housewarming and new babies. I am sure the list goes on and on but you get the idea. Always keep your eyes peeled for that special gift. Not only will you feel happy giving it but the recipient will be so thankful that you know them so well.

My mother in law’s birthday is coming up. She is not always the easiest person for me to buy for but I feel like I still manage to come up with something that is ‘her’.

This year I decided on a cozy theme since we are in the midst of Fall. One of her favorite things to do is wake up early and sit on her back porch while enjoy some tea and a good book. I decided I’d contribute to this love. I was at the best store ever Target and decided on this lovely blanket {yes, it was on clearance from $24.99 to $17.98), I also found this adorable matching red mug for $1.99 and a box of chamomile tea. Yes, I just totally told you what everything costs but one thing my MIL does not do and that is read my blog. Sigh. It’s OK — we all do different things with our time eh? Anyway, I love that I got a great gift that truly does fit the person for a great price.

What do you think? Did I do good? The weather totally cooled down today and I personally would love to snuggle up with a soft blanket and a hot pumpkin spice latte. Mmmmmmm!!

How do you shop for gifts? On the fly or well thought out?

My Fall Buffet Table

I know — I shared some of my Fall decor already but I wanted to focus on my buffet table, I also wanted to join a linky party over at The Lettered Cottage for Fall table decorating šŸ˜‰

I love this table. It is always so much fun to decorate for holidays. This year I added my Target grapevine pumpkins {several years old but I love them!}, my Pick Your Own Pumpkin was a steal at Eddie Bauer home 11 years ago! Crazy how a piece can still be a favorite so many moons later. I also added the fun little pumpkins in a jar. I think they might have come from Michaels? They are also a few years old. I love the table runner. It was a HomeGoods find from last year. I love that it has the fall colors of orange and brown but adds in the pop of blue. Ā Isn’t blue such a pretty compliment to orange? I think so! I added in a couple of frames and photos of my cute boys. The bronze frame is an oldie but I just scooped up the orange one at Marshalls this year at the bargain price of $7.99. The photos are actually from Apple Hill which to me is Fall. I have a million pics of my kids there from over the years.

Apple Cider Floats

Did you know that Apple Hill Season has officially started? Yep — Labor Day is the opening season kick off for many of the Apple Orchards. With that comes apples {duh!} and an abundance of apple treats. I saw this recipe at Rachel Ray and now I want it. We always pick up cider when we make an Apple Hill run. That and donuts. And pie. And apple cake. The list goes on and on. šŸ˜‰

Apple Cider Floats – Rachel Ray Magazine

 

Ingredients

  • 2Ā cupsĀ apple cider
  • 1Ā cinnamon stick
  • 1Ā cupĀ vanilla ice cream
  • 1Ā tablespoonĀ caramel sauce
  • Grated nutmeg

Directions

  • In small saucepan, heat cider with cinnamon stick. Pour cider into 2 float glasses. Top with ice cream, caramel sauce and grating of nutmeg. Serve with spoon.

 

Last year I shared this post on Apple Hill. There is so much to do and so many foods to eat!! Do you visit Apple Hill? If so, do you have a favorite spot?