2009 - a very good year

I have loved 2009 … it was a very good year. There is so much to look back on and treasure. My son Ethan turned 5 and Hudson turned 3. My first born started Kindergarten and my youngest started preschool. My oldest began reading and loves to make funny faces and my youngest is finally potty trained and in love with taking photographs. 2009 was the year I really upped the ante my creative passions … designing, painting and handmade gift making. I picked up a bunch of freelance design jobs, with the highlight being my sister's wedding invitation suite. I created 5 new paintings. I opened up my etsy handmade gifts shop, small as it may be, it has been something I have wanted to do for quite awhile.

2009 has also been a year of consistent mind and body health. I made it to my weight loss goal of 12 lbs. lost for the year - woo hoo! Due to a shortened work schedule all year, I had extra time to read, create, practice yoga and volunteer at my son's school, which has been very rewarding.

We spent many days at McCormick Train Park since we had a yearly pass. We enjoyed a gem of a hiking trail only minutes from our house at Usery Park. We went to a peach festival and picked our own peaches. We planted tomatoes and basil in our backyard and ate the fruit of our own labor, while it lasted. We spent MANY days at our community pool and had lots of fun in the sun. I have crafted and painted so many times with the boys this year.

Bert and I got away to play often. Bert took a road trip while moving a friend, I went to New York for my sister's bachelorette party & bridal shower. We went to Jamaica for the first time and watched my little sister get married. We took a road trip to Colorado to see our favorite band, Phish, play again for the first time in years. We traveled to see Phish again for a 3 day festival in California. We have lived the "good life" this year and have much to be grateful for.

I look at the photos I realize just how lucky I am to have this life and people I love to share it with. Thank you for sharing it with me. Peace and Love, Peace and Love. xoxo


holiday happenings

"So much time, and so little to do! Strike that, reverse it." ~ Willy Wonka. Oh my, Christmas only 4 days away?! Eek. We are sort of, kinda ready. Ready or not, we have been very busy this year enjoying the holidays! Here is what we've been up to ...

Let it Snow
We kicked off the holiday festivities with a little snowfall. 7 pm every night it "snows" at Tempe Marketplace.

Santa visits Falcon Field Airport
We joined some friends to see Mr & Mrs. Claus fly in on a bomber plane. Too cool! We visited Santa and toured the aviation museum.

Breakfast with Santa
We had breakfast with Santa at our community center. Ethan saw a few kids from his kindergarten class so, that was pretty exciting for him. Santa walked around, said hello to all the children and gave each child a present.

Gingerbread House
Hopped on sugar we had a blast building, decorating and eating our gingerbread house!

Playgroup Holiday Party
We had a holiday party with our playgroup at the park. We have been a part of this playgroup for almost 3 years! Here the kids are decorating sugar cookies.

Mesa Temple
Each year this church creates a beautiful display of lights and has music. Nancy, a friend from our playgroup, plays in her church bell choir and she was preforming so, we headed down to enjoy the music and lights.

Natal Circle Neighborhood
We met up with some playgroup friends to see Natal Circle in Mesa light up the holidays! The entire street is lit up with elaborate holiday light themes. Residents hang out in their driveways next to fire pits and in awesome garages party rooms.

Holiday Pen Pals
Each holiday our playgroup matches up a holiday pen pal for the kids. The boys always enjoy making, sending and receiving their pen pal cards! Here are the cards the boys made.

Whew! We have been busy having holiday fun and are so excited to celebrate Christmas day! Hope you and your family are enjoying all the season has to offer. Many wishes for a very happy and healthy holiday!


gift wrapping

Here I used the Peace Joy Love wrapping paper & gift tag I designed to finish a friends gift. You can print the gift tags and wrapping paper at home. An inexpensive way to finish your holiday gifts in style! Free art downloads are available over at the Soft Flex Company website.


vintage figurines turned ornaments

I had a few vintage Christmas figurines lying around with no home. They are tiny and really didn't really fit into any of our holiday decor. After seeing the gnome ornament by Heidi Kenney of My Paper Crane yesterday I knew just what to do with them. Turn them into ornaments of course! I twisted up some pipe cleaners and with a little glue gun I gave them a purpose.

They are so stinkin' cute, aren't they?!


christmas ornaments

I love creating handmade ornaments to adorn our tree. I blogged last year about the handmade ornaments I have created since 2002. Ethan is still swiping ornaments from the tree this year, I think he has a special place in his heart for them too!

Last year slipped by me and this year I'm cutting it close but, the more I thought about it the more I realized I want to create a new ornament this year and keep the tradition going. There are so many wonderful ideas online for homemade ornaments to create. Shall I choose recycled, re-purposed, beaded or painted?! hmm... I haven't made up my mind yet, although I do know I will be using what I already have around the house mixed with the wonderful ideas I've stumbled upon below.

Beaded Snowflakes
[via marthastewart.com]

Pipe Cleaner Snowflakes
[ via marthastewart.com]


free printable gifts tags & wrapping paper

I designed some gifts tags & matching wrapping paper for your holidays gifts. Print these full color gift tags and wrapping paper at home. An inexpensive way to finish your holiday gifts in style!

Simply download the holiday gift wrap file, print on printer paper and wrap a small gift with it. Then, download the free holiday gift tags file, print on card stock, cut and attach to your gift with tape or a pretty ribbon. Free downloads are available over at the Soft Flex Company website.


holiday wreath

I created a holiday wreath for our front door from an old spring wreath that had seen better days (many years ago) combined with poinsettia and holly flowers I found when going through our Christmas storage. Here is what is looked like before ...


desert baby

I had the pleasure of working Amanda at Desert Baby to help create an identity for her new online shop. She was in need of a banner artwork for her shop and a business card. Desert Baby specializes in sewn handmade goodies for moms and the lil' ones that rule their lives. I based her shops design on retro graphics (since I knew she is fond of retro) and a desert color scheme.

Online Shop Banner

Business Card Design

And on another note, Amanda made an awesome little painter apron for Hudson's 3rd birthday. He loves it. And she now sells this sweet little painter's apron in her shop!


monthly goal meetup

(image: Modish Biz Tips)

December's upon us; our tree is up, the house decked out in decorations and the boys have been memorized by our holiday snow globes. The holiday rush is upon us and I'm trying to keep my sanity (although not doing it too well yet). I keep reminding myself that everything will fall in place as it always does this time of year. I have lots of holiday festivities planned, cookies to bake, gifts to make and plan to focus on those and enjoy the holiday season this month and will wait until January to post biz goals.

I wish you all a very happy holiday season!


feeling grateful

I was not feeling well this past weekend and wanted take a few moments today to reflect upon the things that I am grateful for this holiday season.

I am forever grateful for my family. I'm thankful for my husband Bert and the patience, love, support and friendship he shares with me every day. I couldn't have asked for a better partner in life or father for our children. I'm thankful for my children; Ethan shines with limitless happiness and excitement and Hudson sees the world with wonderment and creativity. I am extremely lucky to have them in my life and see the world as they do.

I am grateful for our home and all that we have. The kids and I went through our toys, clothes and household items this weekend. I was amazed and humbled at just how much we have and just how much we are able to donate to help others.

I am grateful for my extended family and friends. Without them, I wouldn't be me. They have helped see me through so much in my life and I am thankful for all their love and support. My good friends (old and new) help me to smile, laugh and appreciate others. And for that I say thanks.

I hope you had a lovely weekend, enjoyed your holiday and took a moment to give thanks!


desert botanical gardens

On Friday, my long time friend Carla and I got to spend the day together. Carla was in town for the ArtFest of Scottsdale and took some time out of her trip to spend the afternoon with me. We had a fabulous lunch at Arcadia Farms, known for their local and organic menu, and then headed to the Phoenix Desert Botanical Gardens.

I was the lucky recipient of a Culture Pass which led us to the Desert Botanical Gardens. The culture pass is a program that began in April and allows library members to sign out passes for free admission for 4 people to 15 different museums and cultural institutions around the valley. It's a pretty neat program. The library near me makes them available at random so, it's the luck of the draw and on Friday I happened to pick up a pass the Desert Botanical Gardens, score! While there we visited the Mariposa Monarca Monarch Butterfly Exhibit.

Hope you had a lovely weekend!


pumpkin fritters

This fritter recipe was passed along to me by my good friend Erica. It has become a recipe I look forward to making each year during pumpkin season. I took this recipe to a pumpkin picnic last weekend and the kids gobbled them up. The fact that I called them pumpkin donuts instead of fritters I think made the kids want to try them. My kids get giddy whenever donuts are mentioned.

I use real pumpkin but, you could try it with canned pumpkin and that would be yummy too.

Pumpkin Fritters (aka Pumpkin Donuts)
  • 1 small pumpkin (2 cups mashed pumpkin)
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 1 - 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp salt
  • oil for frying
  • confectioner's sugar
First remove seeds and peel the pumpkin. To easily peel the pumpkin I roast it in the oven for about 15 min covered until the skin easily peels away or is at least soft enough to easily cut away. Then chop, boil, drain and mash the pumpkin. Combine 2 cups of mashed pumpkin with sugar, whole wheat flour, vanilla and salt. Heat oil in tall saucepan, spoon in mixture and fry. Sprinkle with confectioner's sugar.

This year I decided to make 3 small pumpkins at once. After I prepared the pumpkins I portioned out 3 containers with 2 cups of mashed pumpkin in each. I fried one batch up right away, refrigerated one for the following day and froze one to save for Thanksgiving. This way, I just combine the ingredients and fry without the hassle of preparing a whole pumpkin each time.

Hope you are enjoying pumpkin season! I sure am.


day trippin'

Last weekend we took the family for a drive up north to Sedona and Oak Creek Canyon. We watched the leaves fall as we drove through Oak Creek Canyon. I forgot how beautiful it is to see the leaves delicately fall all around us. Once there, we ...

had a picnic lunch

played in the leaves

took pictures of the trees, this was taken by Hudson!

feed a goat named Amber

and admired this metal Javelina at an art show, Ethan loved him

While in the area we visited our friends Carla and Mark of Black Mountain Jewelry (and their dog Sam) at an art show they were attending. Lastly, we stopped at the Black Cow Cafe in uptown Sedona and enjoyed some homemade ice cream before hitting the road to head back home. What a sweet way to end a nice day trip with my family.