Thursday, December 31, 2015

2015 Recap

Happy New Year's Eve!

Tonight, after going out annual New Year's Dinner, we will be trying a new game (stay tuned!) and watching a slideshow of our year in pictures.

We all enjoy reflecting and looking back on family photos, especially when we can project them on the TV.  I recently made an album on Flickr with some highlight photos from throughout the year.  We use Apple TV in our home (we don't have cable) and there is a Flickr app that we can directly connect with to display our Flickr albums using the app.  My family doesn't know the photos I have chosen yet, so I am looking forward to lots of laughs and reminiscing.

Some of my favorites for the year are:

Do you have any New Year's traditions? How will you reflect on the past year?

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Six Word Saturday (On a Sunday)

From The One-Minute Writer:

Will I ever wear a scarf again?

Monday, August 10, 2015


The One-Minute Writer

Posted: 05 Aug 2015 03:00 AM PDT
One Word Wednesday.


Wednesday, July 1, 2015

On the Eve of 40

So here it is, the night before I say goodbye to my 30's and hello to 40.  The 30's were a very significant decade of much growth, change, love and heartbreak:

  • Had 2 out of 3 of my babies 
  • Quit teaching and became a SAHM
  • Made many new friends and my village grew
  • Cancer was brought into our lives in many ways, some horrible, some victorious and always never giving up
  • Continued to grow in what I love to do most- being creative
  • Grew leaps and bounds in my marriage
  • Learned more about my personality and what brings me comfort, happiness and contentment
  • Learned that I can't carry every burden on my own and that I need something bigger than myself to guide me
There are so many, many more that I can't even begin to think about!

Exactly a year ago, tomorrow, I began my journey to complete 40 Things Before 40

Somewhere around May, I realized that I needed to stop worrying so much about completing every task.  My life is busy!  I have 3 little boys that need me and a husband, as well.  We were knee-deep in baseball season and so much of our time was spent cheering on our oldest son.

I had to make peace with myself that I would not complete everything before July 2, 2015.  This has been hard for me because I am a finisher!  I have decided to continue these challenges through my 40th year and see where it lands me this time next year.  Several of the items I am currently working on, such as visiting the Sawdust Festival over the next few days and completing a Good Morning Girls Study.  Some take time, but I know I can do this!

So, out of 40 personal challenges, I have completed....

19 out of 40!

I have had so much support from family and friends that have tried to help me get through my list. I appreciate it so much!

I am happy with where I am and I am looking forward to crossing off more items in the near future!

Monday, June 8, 2015

DIY General Cornwallis Costume

At my children's school, in the upper grade levels, the students participate in a program called "Walk Through Presentations."  Fourth graders "walk through" California, fifth graders "walk through" the American Revolution and sixth graders "walk through" Ancient Civilization.  

Each child memorizes facts and an important word or is assigned a role to play during the presentation.  The class is broken up into teams, with the objective to earn points through participation, knowing their part and positive behavior.

Fourth grade was a breeze for my son last year- a simple costume of a flannel shirt, jeans, a large-brimmed hat and a little black eyeliner smudged for the coal covered look of a miner.  I have been kind of dreading the fifth grade presentation because I always was intimidated by the the costumes that I saw on the other students and how much might have to go into them.

When my son came home, assigned to the role of General Cornwallis, I looked him up and saw this (and might have groaned a little to myself):

I honestly don't remember much about studying this period in history, so the following Saturday we hit up the library for some books about the General and then we were off to the Goodwill for costume pieces.

We were very lucky at the Goodwill that day!  My suggestion, if you are searching for pieces that are similar for this time period is to browse the women's department first.  There we found a frilly white top, that I'm pretty sure I wore in 9th grade.  I have to admit I had a laugh watching my 11- year old baseball playing, 100% boy trying this on in the store.  There may have been a look or two from other shoppers, as well.  We found a simple red jacket with shoulder pads that was just the perfect length on him.

On a different outing, I went to Hobby Lobby to find the buttons and other finishing touches.  Besides the buttons, I purchased a dark blue ribbon for the length of the opening of the jacket, fringe for the shoulders, gold ribbon for accents and a large jewelry pendant for his jacket pin.

This is the photo we used as inspiration and the finished jacket:

I machine stitched the blue ribbon on the length and shoulders of the jacket, as well as the fringe.  I sewed the jacket buttons, shirt buttons and pin by hand and used fabric glue to add the gold ribbon as the accent detail.

To make the wig, we followed the instructions listed here (There are other costume ideas listed here, as well.):

For the finishing touches, we borrowed a red scarf from a family member, Dad's white socks, attached cardboard (painted gold) buckles to his shoes and sewed a simple white flag for him to carry, along with a toy sword, as props.  Of course, he needed some pants and his white baseball pants were the perfect pair for this costume.

When the day arrived, J did a fantastic job!  He said his lines perfectly with a British accent and had fun playing the role of General Cornwallis.

"I surrender!"

Sunday, May 3, 2015

National Scrapbook Day 2015

Hello! I am currently reporting from the last few hours of a weekend-long, annual, National Scrapbook Day Crop in Orange, CA.
I have been working on various projects this weekend, including organizing my ribbon collection and finishing a project from a previous BPC class.  I wanted to also participate in an online crop my crafty friend, Cindy, was hosting over at her blog,

I chose to do 2 out of the 10 challenges based on what supplies I have.

Challenge #1 was based on a sketch and needed to include polka dots. Here is my take:

Challenge #7 was to make a project using washi tape, and 3+ stars, but no patterned paper. Here is my layout:

I love these challenges- they always stretch my creativity and make me think outside the box. 

As this weekend winds down, I am thankful for the time shared with friends, the relaxation and the creativity we all shared. 

Friday, April 3, 2015

One Favorite Photo

From One-Minute Writer:

What's Your Favorite Photograph?

Right now mine is this:

I shocked my boys and attacked J with whipped cream while we were having dessert last week.  It was pretty fun!  Not the greatest photo, but it captures the fun moment we were having.

I did this post a while back on other photos that make me happy, as well.

So, what's your favorite photograph?  At least for right now?

Friday, March 27, 2015

Fiskafriends- The Power of Community Blog Hop 2015

Fiskafriends- The Power of Community Blog Hop

Welcome to Happiness is Homemade!

Thank you for visiting my little corner of the world.  So happy you stopped by!

DIY Sticker Book

When you think about your childhood, did you have an interest or hobby that seems totally outdated in today's world of technology?  An activity that kids of today might not enjoy or even see the purpose in? I sure did!  Besides collecting random rocks around the yard, I was a BIG sticker enthusiast.

Yes, the Scratch and Sniff still smell!
I loved receiving stickers from my teachers, for my birthday and those free ones that would sometimes come in the mail for magazine subscriptions.  Over the course of my childhood, I carefully curated my collection into three sticker books.

I remember carefully peeling stickers off class work and tests so that I could add them to my collection.  I loved going through my books again and again to scratch the smelly stickers or feel the fuzzy ones.

In my constant quest to steer my own boys away from technology and enjoy true play, I worked with them to create their own sticker books.  This is a perfect activity for cold, rainy days or during quiet times when my little one was napping.

I purchased 3-ring binders and page protectors from the office department at Wal-Mart.  The bigger boys picked out some bold binders, while the little guy went plain.  I think the colorful ones keep with the cool 80's vibe I had!

Totally Radical
I made a cover for my little one's plain binder
In each page protector, I inserted a plain piece of white printer paper, so that it would give a solid background for the stickers to be showcased.

After that step, they were ready to get to work!

The boys simply peeled the stickers and adhered them to the outside of the page protectors.  They were repositionable when first applied, probably not so much later.

Great activity for those developing small muscles

This book has been great after doctor visits when they hand my boys a stack of stickers to take home with them.  It has encouraged them to keep the stickers "safe" until they get home to put in their book instead of plastering the back seat with them (or themselves).

I would love to know what  your simple pleasures were as a child...and do you share them with your child/grandchild/etc. today?

Blog Hop Info:
If you would like to be eligible for the sponsor giveaway drawing, START at the Fiskafriends blog and follow the instructions there. If you have already done that, I would love for you to leave a comment on my blog.

You do not have to be a Fiskafriend to visit the blogs and comment on our blogger's pages.  International friends are welcome!
 The blog hop begins on March 27th at 6PM (PDT) and will end on March 29th at 11:59 PM PDT. The full contest rules and blog hop list will be revealed on the blog on March 27th. 

Start here and then you're your way:

  1. Jean Bullock, #8889, 
  2. Susan Slomski, #6150, 
  3. Cindy deRosier, #4113,
  4. Tifany DeGough, #5942, 
  5. Cheryl Waters, #002,
  6. Jean Marmo, #7358,
  7. Teresa Godines #6857
  8. Michelle O'Driscoll #7586
  9. Nancy Carroll  #11488
  10. Maya Oren-Dahan #351
  11. Amy Martin Jones #8546
  12. Karen Poirier-Brode (Ladydoc) #2858
  13. Tanya Napier #5407  (You are here)
  14. Pamela Haskin #8040
  15. Stasia Sloma #9314
  16. Tracy Moloney  #6773
  17. Kim Chenez #5612

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Work It!

Have you been looking forward to summer and days by the pool?  What about running your first 5k?  How about just getting fit for yourself or your family?
As much as I want to do all of these, time isn't always on my side and going to the gym is just not in our family's budget.
My brother, Chris, introduced me to Insanity with Shaun T. (yes, that's what he calls himself.  And yes, he speaks in the third person!) about a year ago and I loved working out to the DVD's.  Challenging, energizing and I sweat more than when I run!  Unfortunately, my brother moved with his family to Northern California and took Shaun T. with him.  He started working out on a regular basis and has done fantastic with his weight loss goals- he just ran his first half-marathon over St. Patrick's Day weekend!
During his journey to a be a fit dad and husband, he discovered Team Beach Body, which is associated with Shaun T.'s workouts and many others you may have heard of (P90x, anyone?). He is now a Coach and truly inspiring!
But back to Shaun T....One day, Chris sends me a text and tells me how Beach Body will now provide many of their popular programs, including Insanity, through a subscription streaming service.  No more DVD's, no more excuses and back to what has been the only program to truly motivate me.
I signed up last week and I already feel like a new woman!
I just wanted to share this service with you because 1.) It's cheaper than going to the gym (from what I hear) and your Starbuck's habit and 2.)  You can try it out for free for 30 days  3.)  Chris is starting a Facebook Group specifically for the launch of this new program to get you motivated and moving!

Here's Coach Chris to tell you more:

This program gives you the chance to bring your workouts and meal plan ANYWHERE with a WIFI connection, so we are taking the risk out of missing your workouts or having to lug around your DVDs!  You get to be part of an amazing Club Membership program, have access to life changing workouts and nutritional systems for every fitness level, whether you are a lifelong gym rat or just starting out.  As part of the launch group you will also be able to try out brand new work out programs before they hit the shelves.  If you are like me, I am a big fan of OPTIONS which makes me so pumped about this OnDemand program because the options are truly endless as to types of workouts, types of virtual trainers, and gives you such a huge variety to choose from.

I will be working with each person in our group to figure out the best route to take with using the OnDemand system so we can get you to reach your personal fitness, nutrition, and health living goals.  You can do a whole program, we can work together to set up a hybrid schedule where you can pick and choose the workouts you do, etc.  So many options and I guarantee you will NOT get bored with your fitness or nutrition with this group.  

If you want to be part of this awesome group starting on April 1st, simply go our Facebook event page and RSVP.  I will reach out to you to share how you can get in the select launch group to try out this new program.  The benefit of being on your launch team is that you will gain access to these workouts for 30 days for free!
There is only one today, don’t waste it.
Coach Chris

I'm in and I would love for you to try it out! Please let me or Coach Chris know if you have any questions about this program.  And please don't feel like you can't do it- you can modify the exercises for your fitness level.

Hope you will check it out!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Blog Hop Time!

I am participating in my first ever Blog Hop March 27-29, 2015!  To celebrate the first anniversary of the Fiskafriends crafting group, Fiskafriends from all over will be sharing their talents with you!

There will be giveaways from awesome sponsors!

It is a great way to celebrate the strength of our crafting community.  Please visit for all the details about the Blog Hop.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Post #101

Because I am never distracted while writing the occasional blog post, I didn't even notice a milestone that I passed on 2/18/15...One hundred posts!  Woohoo!
Hmmm, I started this blog in 2010 and I'm at 100 five years later?  What a high achiever I am!

Whatever, the point is I wanted to reach 100 for my 40 Before 40 challenge and here I am!

What is something that took you a long time to do, but you finally accomplished it?

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Why is the Thermometer Out? (And Other Curveballs Life Throws)

I had just returned home from a lovely afternoon of practicing my new
found crochet chain making skill, when upon walking in the front door, I see the thermometer out on the table.  The first words out of my mouth were not a "Hello" or "Hi," but a, "What is the thermometer doing out?"

Our little bird was running a fever, of course.  Why wouldn't he? We were supposed to go out for a belated Valentine's Day date that very evening.  This almost happens every time we plan a date.  We have had to cancel last minute due to a feverish boy that wakes from a nap burning up.  My own surprise baby shower was not so much a surprise when my middle bird became very ill the morning of.

Many times I have returned from an errand or what have you and walked in the door to instantly see the eyes of a child that has a fever or something else brewing in their little body. We Mama's just KNOW when we see our little one. We don't need a thermometer or WebMD to tell us, we are experts already.  In fact, I knew minutes before my oldest bird was going to have a febrile seziure that I should keep my eyes fixed on him!

Of course I feel horrible when my kids are sick, but it's also tough because our time as just a couple is very limited.  I have told my husband, it  must be the devil intervening (or trying to)- he doesn't want us to keep working in our marriage and sharing these important times together.  Our children's health and comfort always come first though.

We were able to go our for a couple hours, thanks to Tylenol and that the fever wasn't much to be overly concerned about.  It has been an ongoing virus that he has battled for over a week or so, even while on antibiotics for an ear infection. A very high fever even had us hanging out at the ER last week, our visit long enough to watch most of the Grammy awards show.

So, the week has gone without incident, but now the thermometer is back out again...but not for the kids...


Saturday, February 14, 2015

Wave Your Flag

Happy Valentine's Day, Friends!

I hope you can find something in this day to make your heart happy.  Whether it be spending it with a special person, doing something crafty or eating chocolate (my plan- chocolate covered strawberries!), Enjoy!

I made this flag to celebrate Valentine's Day at our home.  It is completely Pinterest inspired, but my hands made it (Right?!?).  It was fun and quick- a couple hours total.

Grumpy model on the way to the preschool Valentine party

Happy model photo bombing my shot.

Proud of my curves!

I used a zig-zag stitch on the side, straight stitch on the top.

The two obstacles I faced while working on this project were my bobbin being difficult and the burlap type.  My bobbin was getting stuck over and over again.  I'm not sure what was happening, but it definitely increased my time spent on this project.  I plan on looking into this and I'm thinking the machine needs a good ol' fashioned cleaning and oiling up.

As far as the burlap goes, I am always trying to save money with my crafting projects.   A roll of burlap at Michaels was about $10, but a roll of burlap with laminated backing was only about $3.  I couldn't iron the burlap with the backing on it, so I had to wait for it to flatten under a pile of books before I worked with it due to the fact it was rolling up.  Once that was fixed, it was fine to work with. Lesson learned!

I may create another flag soon with a baseball theme, since it's almost that time again!