Monday, October 27, 2014

My Fall List

Fall is in full swing with Halloween at the end of the week.  I was thinking of what I like about this season because it is my second favorite (after summer!). Being in Southern California, we have to work a little harder to imagine an actual changing of the seasons.  So just for fun, I made a little list to use on a future layout...

Fall Favorites
Pumpkin Treats
Crunchy, Colorful Leaves
Getting Back to Routine
Scary Movies
Decor and Colors
Thanksgiving/Thanksgiving Foods
Comfy Jeans

Not So Favorite Parts of Fall
Too Many Pumpkin Treat choices
Candy Overload
Christmas is Already in Stores
Cold and Flu Season
Daylight Savings
Santa Ana Winds
Dry Skin

I would love to know what you DON'T like about Fall, just for fun.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

A Sweet Little Top for a Sweet Little Girl

One of the goals I was most excited about reaching for my 40 Before 40 quest (, was sewing a dress for my adorable neice, Scarlett.  Mind you, I haven't sewn a piece of clothing in several years!  I was a little intimidated by it all, but I was ready to accept my own challenge.
B caught me sewing away

What I Learned:

  • I went for a top instead of a dress.  I didn't originally plan this, but I liked this pattern so I decided to go with it.
  • How to use bias tape on the arm holes
  • How to add a pocket and top stitching
  • How much sewing challenges me and I like it!
  • How to ask for help!  I was completely stuck on the yoke of the top.  I needed an extra set of eyes to look at the directions for me.  I am not one to ask for help, but I gave in to my need.  My wonderful Aunt M was just the person to help.  She was able to help me translate the directions and get me past my roadblock.

I am so happy with how it turned out and I have definitely been re-bitten by the sewing bug!
The Perfect Model
Those curls!
Time to play

Friday, October 3, 2014

Return to Facebook...Sort of

This week I completed my personal one month Facebook hiatus.  It has been a very eye opening experience!  I am so happy I did it and it was all in perfect timing.  It was hard at first- not so much about the fear of missing out, but I realized why I used it so much to begin with.  The times I did use it seemed to be the times I was bored, avoiding tasks or just wanting to not really be present.  I would catch myself through the day feeling the tug to log on, but I couldn't do it. The feeling lasted about a week or so, then I began comfortably adjusting to my new routine.  I found that the time I wanted to log on the most was when I was in the kitchen- cooking or cleaning or waiting for water to boil.
I did miss out on big life events during the break:  birth, death, marriage, giveaways (I kid)... But, I survived.  I would hear about such things from friends or I did keep up on Instagram, but I don't follow many people, so I didn't feel the FB overwhelm.  I did "have" to hop on twice during my time, but I warned my usual accountability people. I needed to join a group that I belong to in real life to keep up on events and also to speak to a friend who lost her father.  I couldn't let that slip through the cracks!
Facebook was not happy that I deserted them!  I would get emails everyday telling me I missed a post or a picture.  I had 99+ notifications and so and so uses Facebook, so maybe I should get back on and friend them.  It was kind of creepy!
I was asked by some WHY?!?!  Has someone said something?  Did something happen?  No, just me trying something out.
A bonus was when a friend texted me saying she was joining in with me.  She has loved it so much, she has deactivated her account!
So what have I learned from this experience?

  • I know I get bored sometimes and that's okay
  • FB really does affect me, even though I didn't want to admit it, emotionally
  • I know who I really miss not keeping up-to-date about and who I can live without
  • I don't really like the drama people post
  • I DO like seeing photos and hearing funny and uplifting stories
  • I kind of like being out of the loop
  • I feel like I am having more face to face/phone conversations with people
  • I have better focus when I need to check emails or do anything online   
  • I am happy to be away from the negative news stories and crazy conspiracy theory posts
  • I feel like FB puts the weight of everyones hurts and worries on my shoulders
  • Less eye-rolling (Ha!) 

I have been asked if I will go back and I feel at this time I will continue to log on. Facebook is the main communication I have with some family and friends.  It's how I share pictures and little stories about my family.  Since logging back in on the 1st to change my profile photo and fulfill some friend requests, I have been on a couple times to check a group message, respond to some events and catch up on some walls of my closest circle.  I haven't been on for any extended length of time and I don't want to be.  I felt when my time off was dwindling down that I couldn't trust myself to go back on part-time, but I am seeing that I can trust myself.  I don't really have the desire to spend much time on it.  In the time I was off, I did an online parenting/self-care course, sewed, followed a couple Bible reading plans and read a book.  My family, of course, had more of me.  We made some big changes in our home and it has been awesome!

My head feels so much clearer and my shoulders feel so much lighter!  I challenge anyone to try it, if only for a weekend or week and see how you feel. If you do, I'd love to hear about it!  But not on Facebook...

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Scarlett's First Birthday Album

I put this little album together over the course of a couple days. I really just wanted to showcase my favorite pictures from my sweet niece's first birthday. I mostly used Dear Lizzy product on this project (I'm a big fan!).  Enjoy!

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Just a Mama and Her Minivan

All of my men are off to school.  For the first time ever, I am alone.
It's so quiet.  I miss them.  

Monday, September 1, 2014

Taking a Break From Facebook

Last night I signed off from Facebook for the last time for the next month.  I had only told two people I was doing this for the month of September as part of my personal 40 Before 40 Challenge.  I thought a lot about when the best time would be to try this challenge. I came to the conclusion that September would be perfect- the boys and myself will be jumping back into our routine, it's a new season of life with B starting preschool and I have a lot I want to accomplish!
Already, this morning, the routine feels different.  I even had a mom friend text me and say she's in- she wants to do the same thing.  I am so happy to encourage someone to try this out.  

I am looking forward to what happens this month and how much more time I think I will gain without the habit of checking in with Facebook.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Color Run 2013

  I loved running as a kid and into junior high.  I liked when we had to do the mile test during PE.  I always wished I could run a marathon of some sort.  Somewhere along the line, I stopped. I had other priorities to deal with.  Then while taking a scrapbooking class from Stacy Julian, I heard of a non-competitive run called, "The Color Run."  From the time I watched the little video on the website, I knew I wanted to do this!
I even made a Smash Book page about it.

But the problem was, I hadn't ran in YEARS.  I was not 5K ready.  I was not 1 minute of running ready.  I did some research and found the Couch to 5K app for my phone. It's an awesome app for beginners that takes you from walk/running to running, I believe in about 8 weeks.  I followed the program pretty slowly, as time would allow. During that time, I learned that my "running shoes" were in fact not the greatest. I invested in some real Nike running shoes and I was off!  It took several months to complete the program, but I did it.  The first time I ran 2 miles, with B in the jogging stroller, non-stop, I felt invincible!!!

I had to document this milestone!

The days leading up to the race, I was out running around the lake near where we live.  I felt a pop in my knee and pain instantly.  I was crushed!  I stayed off of it and treated it as well as I possibly could.  The day of the race, I taped my self up with K-tape a friend had.  It wasn't pretty, but it helped somewhat.

I was super excited, nervous and in some pain.  But, with all that excitement of finally being at a start line, I somehow managed to do it.  The WHOLE thing!  I didn't even notice the pain when I finished the race. I was so high on accomplishment and adrenaline!  (Yes, it was ridiculously painful later and for a couple weeks after, but I babied it!)

It was such a HUGE deal to me- here I was a mom of 3 boys, able to take this on and complete it.  My third pregnancy was extremely hard with morning sickness for the first 6 months and anemia.  I couldn't even walk to the end of my street!  To be able to run this meant the world to me.  To this day it is one of my proudest accomplishments.

I have since ran another Color Run (my husband's first 5k!) and two other 5Ks.  I love it as a stress reliever and just a great way to be outdoors.  My next goal is to complete a 10k and the completion is part of my 40 Before 40.

To mark my first 5K, I created this quick album using Stacy Julian's "Finish Line Scrapbooking" method (This class is now offered FREE!:
I had bought a plain white 6x6 album years ago at Big Lots.  I used different mists on the cover to recreate the colorful mess we became during the race.  I am very happy with the results and know this album will serve as inspiration for my running years ahead.  Enjoy!

Monday, August 11, 2014

Makeover Monday: Updating an Old Kit

Back in 2005, I attended a Scrapbook Expo crop in San Diego, CA.  I received a kit as part of my admission and it has basically sat in my Unfinished Projects Box all these years.

I really didn't want to follow the design directions for it- they were outdated and I just didn't like it!  I decided to challenge myself to make a couple of layouts using these items and this is what I came up with:

I added a watercolor painting B had created as the background.

I worked on this page at a crop. I had limited supplies and only used what I had on hand.

It was fun to try this self-challenge and I plan on doing it again soon.  It is a good way to use up my overflowing box of UFP and get back to what truly matters:  The Story.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Date Night at Seabirds

My husband and I have been on a dating streak lately.  3 months in a row! We have left our boys in the care of a close friend/auntie to go out for a few hours or so.  My husband has been very creative in planning our dates.  I am not really a dinner and  movies type of gal anymore, so this has been right up my alley.  For instance, last month we went on a bike ride and then for pizza and a walk at Balboa Beach.

This month he took notice of my 40 Before 40 list and planned a date night at Seabirds Kitchen in Costa Mesa, CA (  It's located at The Lab or "anti-mall" and is a pretty cool place to visit.

I first found out about Seabirds from my brother when it was a food truck. They serve vegan/vegetarian food. I fell in love with the Beer Battered Avo Tacos and Beet Salad.  When they closed the truck service down to open the restaurant, I sure missed the food!  Well, last night I was reunited with my beloved tacos :).  They were just as good as I remembered!  Just wish this place was closer to home.

Afterwards we stopped off at a little coffee and tea house called "Milk and Honey."  It's across the street from The Lab at another shopping/dining area called The Camp.  Two words:  Lavender Latte. Wow.  I will be waiting for the day I can experience this dreamy drink again.

It was a great night with great company and great food. :)  And one item checked off my list.
Avo Tacos with a side of guac and chips. Avo overload! Mango Lemonade sweetened with Agave to drink.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Sidewalk Paint

The weather here the last few days has been so strange! Very humid and warm, but not too warm.  It even sprinkled a little on Monday.  For my Southern California boys, a little bit of moisture freaks them out.  They wanted to play outside, but didn't want to get "wet."  I figured it was a perfect time to play under the awning in our front yard and try out a recipe I came across for sidewalk paint.

You simply mix equal parts of cornstarch and water and add food coloring.  I added a lot for more vibrant colors.  The results were super fun!  We took it a step further and experimented with chalk dipped in water.  My little one was amazed at how this step can change the intensity of the color.  Simple, summer fun.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

40 Before 40

On July 2nd, I turned 39 years old.

On my birthday at the San Diego Botanical Gardens

With that, I was inspired my crafty friend, Cindy of My Creative Life and how she celebrated her 40th year.  She did so by trying 40 things she had never done before.  With some helpful tips from Cindy, I started formulating my own list of 40 things I would like to do before I turn 40 next year.  My list is more of things I have always wanted to or have done and want to do again, in a different way.  I am such a black or white person that this list will also be an exercise in flexibility for me.  I made the list with the knowledge I may not be able to complete these items.  Or maybe I will get bored with them and want to make a new list.  Also, life happens and there might be some roadblocks that prevent me from doing certain things.  I am giving myself permission to do what it takes to not stress about this list.  It's just for fun and breaking out of the box creatively and physically.

40 Before 40

  • Cook or bake with lavender (Completed 1/17/15)
  • Complete the Couch to 10K program
  • Take a road trip to Phoenix (Completed 1/2/15)
  • Write blog post #100 (Completed 2/18/15)
  • Start a Facebook Group for my crafty friends (Completed 11/19/14)
  • Go on a personal one month spending freeze
  • Ride my new bike at the beach (Completed 4/7/15)
  • Read "The Purpose Driven Life"
  • Make an unusual ice cream flavor from "The Ice Cream Bible"(Completed 3/13/15)
  • Climb Mt. Rubidoux
  • Do a Whole 30 plan for one month
  • Make Sangria (Completed 6/27/15)
  • Go on a Facebook "sabbatical" (Completed Sept. 1-30)
  • Try a completely new-to-me craft (Completed 2/7/15)
  • Visit Torrey Pines
  • Visit Crystal Cove State Park
  • Read and learn how to use my Canon Rebel settings
  • Read a book from each category that we are using for our home summer reading program
  • Choose a month and complete a "Photo a Day" challenge. (Completed 4/30/15)
  • Try oil pulling  (Completed 6/3/15)
  • Take a class or attend an event at The Makery (Completed 2/15/15)
  • Get makeup professionally applied
  • Visit Whimzy (Completed 5/17/15)
  • Eat at Seabirds brick and mortar location ( Completed 7/25/14)
  • Make a homemade pie crust
  • Participate in Operation Beautiful
  • Try Buddha Hand  (Revised and Completed 3/31/15)
  • Make homemade mole
  • Make homemade jam
  • Make and try Fried Dill Pickles
  • Attend the Sawdust Festival
  • Get a henna design on my foot/feet for the summer  (Completed 6/23/15)
  • Sew a dress for Scarlett (Completed 9/26/14)
  • Visit a tea house  (Completed 5/29/15)
  • Make homemade tortillas
  • Visit the L.A. Fashion District
  • Try out a new haircolor for a day or two (Completed 5/17/15)
  • Take a selfie a day for a month
  • Watch 10 movies from AFI's 100 Greatest Movies of All Times (movies chosen randomly by others)
  • Participate in a Good Morning Girls Study

So there you have it, my list.  I am excited to get started and take family and maybe some friends along for the ride!

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Thoughts On Loved Ones Telling You They Have Cancer

My Best Friend has Cancer.

She has a private blog and recently shared what it was like to tell her loved ones she has cancer.  It moved me to write this post, with her blessing.  Her account is so hard to read.  The part where she told me, well, I have a hard time remembering it.  I still feel like we are looking at someone else's story, not hers, not ours...

The girl I have grown up with.  The girl that knows my inner most secrets.  The girl that I spent countless hours with laughing, watching movies, gossiping and having sleepovers with.  The girl that stood next to me as I said my vows, the girl I stood next to when she did the same.  And then there was the day she told me she has cancer...

She had already battled with herself over surgery.  It would change her life, hopefully for the better. She questioned her choices the last time I spoke to her.  But that surgery was never completed.  "They found something on her liver.  They couldn't complete the surgery," her husband texted me.  My mind raced.  What could it possibly be?  Cancer NEVER entered my mind.  I spoke to her that night, her raspy voice sounding worried.

The next morning I went to my monthly scrapbooking crop.  I hadn't been there long and I started explaining the situation to my good friends, Susan and Sylvia.  Just moments after we started talking about what could possibly be going on, my phone rang.  It was my bestie.  I could hardly hear her over the buzz of women talking.  I walked over to a more secluded area and that's when the word came out.  CANCER.

To say I lost it, well that's a complete understatement. I can hardly remember much of it, honestly.  I know I shot my two crop-mates a look of, well, a look.  I ran outside.  I may have screamed, I know I cried.  I paced, I ran around.  But then again, maybe I didn't.  I just know the feeling of my whole self being crushed inward. I couldn't breathe. I couldn't think.  This cannot be happening.  I had to get to her, and quick.  At that point Susan was already by my side.  Sylvia was packing my car with my belongings.  I don't how they knew, but they did.  I called my husband and then my aunt (who was due to meet us at the crop). I don't know what I told them.  I just told them I was driving to L.A.  I remember everyone agreed I couldn't drive, so Susan joined me.

We spent the day with her and her parents.  Listening to each conversation as she relived to diagnosis over the phone with her siblings and their spouses.  We tried to make light of everything, but that dark cloud was there, over the room.  At that point, the type of cancer was still unknown.

I don't remember driving home, going to bed or getting up the next morning. Except that all of a sudden we had a dog.  A dog?  A sweet little dog followed my husband home from his morning run.  His name was Lucky.  I truly believe this little four-legged guy to was sent to my family to bring some joy that morning. I even took pictures to send to my bestie, as she is a huge animal lover.  As soon as Lucky's owner claimed him at our home, reality truly returned.

I needed to be with her again, as much as possible.  I would eventually tell her I was afraid she would get tired of me because I couldn't get enough of her!  My aunt accompanied me that day back to Cedars, which I was again, grateful for.  I bought some nail polish to paint her toes and some cute socks for her hospital stay.  Somehow my aunt and I took a wrong turn on the way and ended up at the red carpet at the Golden Globes. Again, another distraction, a moment of laughter.

We would spend the day with her and she would receive more information about the extent of where the cancer was while we were there.  Again, as I held her hand, this was not our life. It wasn't the plan. We didn't talk about this on those long walks through the jr. high field after school each day.  We talked about our weddings, kids, what we would become.

See the thing is, cancer is not a new thing in our family.  My dear Father-in-Law, whom we saw dying in his home, hadn't been gone but about 8 months. He fought for many years, but the end was ugly to watch.  He outlived the odds.  We had many more years with him than we ever thought possible.  And yes, it was his time to leave this earth, but it still wasn't easy.  It was way too fresh at the point of her diagnosis.  During his last months, a good friend was diagnosed with breast cancer. I got to know a family where the mother was fighting the same disease.  A CHILD we know was diagnosed.

When my Father-in-Law was diagnosed, I felt so much hope.  I really did.  I clung to that and I think the whole family did. At the end, I think I started feeling a bit jaded about the whole hope thing.  The more people that were diagnosed around me, the more I felt anger and confused.

What I find interesting is that of the cancer patients I have spoke with on a deeper level (including my father-in-law), they have all said that they feel worse for the people they love and  have to share their diagnosis with than for themselves.  The people on the outside take it harder.  It makes them sad to see their family and friends hurting.  This thought hurts my heart- it's such a rollercoaster, crazy, cycle of emotion, isn't it?

My best friend has adopted the motto of, "Ain't Nobody Got Time for This."  She proudly totes a zebra striped bag (the "ribbon" of her type of rare cancer) and frequently reminds us of her ROAR (Katy Perry, anyone?).  She has always had a great sense of humor and that surely hasn't changed.  A recent text included a selfie of herself after treatment and an appointment with the biggest Debbie Downer of a doctor.  She had a sad, not impressed face. (Dr. Downer has the worst bedside manner!  I met her and she makes me very nervous!)

Her attitude has really helped me adjust mine.  I am following her lead.  We will make plans and they may look different than when we were 14, but that's okay.  Besides, did we really think we could start a successful band?

My Best Friend has Cancer, but cancer is not who she is.  She is still the hilarious, smart, pretty, fun and loving girl that has always been and always will be my BFF.

And that is the plan that I'm sticking to...
Our new best friend necklaces!

If you heard hoofbeats, what animal would you think of? A horse, right? It’s the most obvious answer. Unfortunately in the medical world not all diagnoses are horses, or the most likely possibility, and sometimes physicians need to look for the zebra, or the less likely scenario, when making a diagnosis. In the cancer world, neuroendocrine tumors are the zebras. Represented by this analogy because of their rarity, neuroendocrine tumors make up just 2% of nationally treated cancers. (From Roswell Park Cancer Institute)

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Summer Reading Program for Moms

I am excited to share a little something I found in my Pinterest journey this week.  Over at, there is a summer reading program for moms of at least one child.  There are even prizes!  Check it out:

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Things I'm Working On

I'm working on cleaning out the garage for a garage sale.  I am realizing it will take me more than a day to accomplish this!

I'm working on sorting through baby clothes and gear.  We are not having anymore babies, so it's time to let these items go.  It's hard, so hard.  I was able to give our crib and changing table to a family that was in need.  I plan on keeping a few items, including the boys coming home outfits.

I'm working on sprucing up a few areas in our home.  I started with our art supplies and moved on to the laundry area in the garage.  I spend A LOT of time doing laundry, why shouldn't I make it cute?

I'm working on embellishing tote bags for the library books for the boys.  I was gifted some adorable cowboy fabric a year ago and was waiting for the right project to come along.

I'm working on planning some special birthday celebrations.  Two milestone birthdays are coming up and I hope I can help make them memorable.

I'm working on moving my body in exercise again.  I have really let this area of my life go.  And my sugar addiction is in full force again.  And I know exactly why.  More on that later...

What are you working on?

(inspired by Ali Edwards)

Monday, June 16, 2014

On Being Bored...

We are on Day 2 of summer break from school.  On Day 1, I heard the "B" word.  You know the one.
Do they really miss school so much already that they can't entertain themselves at home?  Or do they really expect me to entertain them All.The.Time?

On Day 1, I declared on our agenda would be NOTHING.  No meeting up with friends, no outings, no housework, no crafts.  Nothing.  It started out well enough- The World Cup was on and they wanted to design their own jerseys on a printable template I had found.  They spent time in the yard recreating the soccer they had just been watching.  They played a little Lego.  But then it happened...Boredom.

I decided we would have a chat about boredom.  We talked about what summer will look like for us this year.  I don't need to entertain them every waking hour of their day.  They WILL be bored and they WILL have to figure out how to remedy this by using something amazing called "imagination." I reminded them that there are times that I would like to enjoy reading or working on a craft project myself.  Or that there will be days when I need to do laundry or we need to run errands or do housework. I also informed them that I had plenty of things for them to do for me if they were truly bored.  Those little faces showed they were not pleased.

I saw this article this morning on Facebook and it made me happy:

Someone on the same team!

As Mamas, we are constantly bombarded with 101 Things to Do in the Summer and Build a Backyard Water Park. We are told we need to plan every minute of every day and make it magical and memorable. We need to have perfectly staged lemonade stands with chevron-striped paper straws.  We need to buy 100 pool noodles to create our own foam pit.  We need to create a bored jar so they can pick an activity on a stick when they are bored.

Listen, I am a planner and I LOVE Pinterest and I do have a Summertime board.  I love planning for them and executing fun outings and activities.  But I also know that they NEED to be bored.  They NEED to use their brains for play.  They NEED to use their hands and bodies for more than electronic devices and games.
I NEED to have my own summer bucket list, which includes finishing 3 classes that I am enrolled in.

So, what happened after our talk?  They went outside, again, but for hours.  They re-discovered our chalk bucket with a neighbor girl and drew a castle, village and traced outlines of their bodies (kinda looks like a crime scene on our patio right now).  They made a propeller type thing out of found wood and screws.  They ate popsicles and got really sweaty.  It was a good day...

Monday, June 9, 2014

Just a thought...

How have you followed your own choice lately?

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Seasons 2002-2014 (Photo Heavy)

I am currently enrolled in Inspired Scrapbooking with Stacy Julian at Big Picture Classes.  The month of January was all about "Seasons."  For our second challenge of the month, Stacy invited us to find a photo representing each of the four seasons from every year we have used digital images.  This was challenging for me! I realized, after starting this challenge, that when I first started going digital, I didn't really take many "seasonal" photos.  Some of these aren't obvious to the average viewer, but I personally understand the season they fall into.  Here are mine (in no particular order):