gratitude journal - week 1

As you may know, I began my gratitude journal last week. I plan to journal for 30 days. I have a small book next to my bed and I jot down 5 things I am grateful for each night. Some days it's easy to note 5 things; some days not so much. If I really can't get 5 I settle at 3 or 4. I would rather not try and force gratitude just to get to 5 things but, I do think on it a bit before settling for less. I wanted to share some of my favorite entries.

Last week some things I have been grateful for are ...
  • my family ~ Bert, Ethan and Hudson I love you so
  • sharing a hobby with the kids ~ like making model race cars
  • baby snuggles ~ with Hudson and Chloe were oh so sweet
  • the way Bert looks at me ~ he always makes me feel beautiful
  • creativity ~ the ability to express my pain and joy creativity leave me forever grateful
  • bedtime stories ~ my most favorite memories are made then
  • lizard push ups ~ Bert & watched outside our window and had us a good laugh
  • laughter ~ loud laughs, belly giggles, snorting in all
  • videos of our kids ~ having snip its of them in action is awesome
  • rain ~ so beautiful and much needed; rain cleanses my soul
  • coats in spring ~ Ethan insisted on his coat & hat to play in the rain & it was 95 degrees out!
  • lazy mornings in bed ~ being silly before starting our day
  • outbursts of happy energy ~ by none other then mister Hudson
This has been a great exercise so far. It is helps me see what things make me happy each and every day. It will help me focus my life on those things that are important to me.

loving thoughts

In loving memory of Nyah Shanti Mar.
December 6, 2006 to May 21, 2009.

Beautiful little Nyah, may the sweetest memories of you shine through the sadness. I created this drawing as a way to express my feelings and give a gift of loving thoughts to her family.

The flower is a pansy which signifies "loving thoughts". Pansies have long been flowers of remembrance. They are also a symbol of togetherness and union, and perhaps this is why they are so appropriate for remembering those who have passed from our lives. Keep pansies around you when you wish to remember the fond memories and kindnesses of loved ones.


weekly reflection

To gain awareness of all the things that make life great I joined Serene Journey in starting a gratitude journal. The second I read about the gratitude journal I knew I needed to keep one. I want myself and our family to live a simpler and more enjoyable life. Seeing the good in life creates a shift in thinking to the positive. Gratitude makes us happier.

What is a gratitude Journal? Here is how Serene Journey defines it:
A gratitude journal is simply a journal you use to capture gratitude. It can be sexy and luxurious or as plain and simple as you want it to be. You can use a simple notebook, some white paper or a diary.
Once you have something to write in you will write 5 things that you are grateful for that day. You can do this right before bed or in the evening sometime. These don’t have to be big earth shattering revelations, as most things you are grateful for are not. These entries are what matter to you and what you are grateful for. This is a very personal venture.

The only 2 rules with a gratitude journal are:
  1. Everything in it must be positive and;
  2. You can only list something you’re grateful for once - no repeating entries.
I have always kept a journal but, in the past I have used it as a way to vent frustrations, work through issues and occasionally record our lives. This journal is different. It will make me see what things make me happy each and every day. I began my gratitude journal this week. I have a small book next to my bed and I jot down 5 things I am grateful for each night.

If you are not keeping a journal like this I invite you to join me!


bridal party scrapbook

Kelly's maid of honor came up with the awesome idea of giving her a bridal party scrapbook.

She purchased a lovely scrapbook album and asked all of us bridesmaids to create 1 or 2 (12x12) scrapbook pages on our own. What we did was entirely up to us. The final pages were placed them in the album and we all presented it to Kelly at her bridal shower. It was a really thoughtful gift. Each person had totally unique ideas about how to create their pages. Some used old nostalgic photos, some recent photos, some were embellished with her destination wedding theme in mind, some were fun, some were heartfelt, but all were special.

Above is the 2 page spread I created. On the left I have little graphic bodies dancing with heads of me, Katie & Kelly. On the right I used 2 photos of the 3 of us taken at Kelly and Joe's Engagement party. I also placed a little envelope and a note inside with well wishes for Kelly & Joe.

It was such a nice way to say to Kelly, we love you.


just peachy

Me and Hudson in the peach tree

This weekend we headed out to Schnepf Farms in Queen Creek, Arizona for their peach festival. We didn't really partake in much of the festival as it was HOT and we mostly just went to take the kids on the hay ride and pick our own peaches! We picked 5 lbs. of organic peaches. Hudson seemed scared to pick them himself so, I held him and we picked together. I am not usually a peachy kind of gal but, this weekend I made a delicious peach crisp and 7 jars of homemade organic raspberry peach jam. That got me feeling just peachy!

Peach Crisp

This peach crisp was a very easy dessert made with wholesome pecans, granola and oats for the topping. I served it warm with vanilla ice cream. See peach crisp recipe.

Raspberry Peach Jam

This flavorful jam is wonderful on toast, pancakes or waffles and with desserts. Here's an easy tip I found for peeling peaches - boil water; put peaches in boiling water for 20-30 seconds; transfer to cold water and then easily remove the peel. See raspberry peach jam recipe.


kids art: vroom vroom

Vroom! Vroom!

No one enjoys crafts more than kids. Building projects gives them a chance to get their hands dirty and create something with meaning. Sharing a hobby with them can be loads of fun. Ethan and Hudson's eyes light up at the first sight of a crafty kit.

Ethan tagged along with me one day on a trip to Michael's - He couldn't believe all the cool stuff! Is it awful of me to be a creative mom and never bring my kids to a creative supply store?! In that moment I realized that yeah, he should come with me every so often. He found many things he wanted to make but, settled on a wooden race car kit. And, of course we had to get Hudson one too!

Today, we busted out the kits and the boys built their own race car, It was easy to assemble with just wood glue and simple instructions.

Hudson happily painting

Ethan painting with precision

Ethan with his car on the left : Hudson with his car on the right

For only a buck, this little kit brought them a lot of joy and they each made a model car that can be proudly displayed for all to see.

heading to jamacia

So, my week wasn't exactly the serene and peaceful one I was hoping for but, it's busyness was filled with much happier events so, I can't complain. Yesterday in particular ended up being a VERY eventful day.
  • We sold our second car! This helped calm the financial storm brewing around us and gave us a little cash to place in savings (even if it is just for a short while). Just what I needed to boost my mood after my rainy day fund post this week.
  • My passport arrived with my brand new (uh, 7 years old) name.
  • We officially booked our hotel reservation and second flight for Jamaica.
Just 2 weeks until my sister's wedding. The excitement is beginning to build! It is going to be a fantastic celebration. I can't wait to be lounging around for 3 whole days in the Caribbean with my husband. We always have such fun together. I really can't wait ... Jamaica here we come!


new painting: paisely

A plain wooden lazy susan got a punch of personality! This paisley inspired painting was created with acrylic paints and finished with a clear acrylic coating. I made this lazy susan to match my sunny yellow kitchen. I have been keeping it on our kitchen island with a beautiful plant I received from my good friend Sara (that I can't believe is still alive and thriving) sitting on top.

Here are some other lazy susans I've painted.


rainy day fund

Around the blog-o-sphere I have been seeing lots of money management posts. I have been secretly ignoring them but, then I read Off Track? Get Reacquainted With Your Finances Again and realized I need to give this subject some genuine attention.

A description of an emergency fund according to Dave Ramsey:

Baby Step 1 - It is a rainy-day fund, an umbrella. An emergency fund is for those unexpected events that are not regularly planned for happening in life - you lose your job, there's an unexpected pregnancy, the car's transmission goes out, or, or, or. This is NOT an investment or Bahamas fund! Before attacking Baby Step 2 (the Debt Snowball), save $1,000 as a baby emergency fund. A fully funded emergency fund is 3-6 months of your personal expenses set aside in a savings or money market account; build this up in Baby Step 3.

A rainy day fund is an insurance policy against financial disaster. When you're faced with a bill you could not budget for, the money is there. A rainy day fund will help you handle the various little events that occur. Do you have one? Is it big enough to cover financial stress? Are you wondering how to build an emergency fund when you don't have any extra funds? I sure am.

I listened to Dave Ramsey's audio book Total Money Makeover back in January and talked about my enthusiasm here. I liked it, I really did. It makes a lot of sense. But, here I am ... 5 months later ... and I am nowhere closer to getting to Baby Step 1. I've pared down my budget a few times over but, I still have so far to go to really making a difference. I need to take the next step (or in my case, Baby Step 1).

Reading I like:

How to Build an Emergency Fund When You Don't Have Extra Funds | Hearth Management

21 Strategies for Creating an Emergency Fund and Why its Critical | Zen Habits

What is No Spend Month? | Small Notebook

20 Pocket Change Date Night ideas | Small Notebook

The Emotional Benefits to Becoming Debt Free | Simple Mom


lovely, enchanting, irresistible

Garden Spells Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen

My review

rating: 5 of 5 stars
Lovely, enchanting, irresistible! This romantic novel in a charming setting cast a spell on me. I could not put it down. I fell in the love with the story and the characters.



"We have no problems, just situations." ~ Jamaican creed.

That saying fits the bill this week. It's been chaotic and stressful and when I look back on this week I realize all that has happened. I am drained. The photo montage I made above portrays a much more serene outlook on the past events. Maybe that was my need for creating it; to be able to look back in a more peaceful way. My goal for this upcoming week is Serenity.

Here is a look back:
  • My sisters wedding was relocated from Mexico to Jamaica due the the swine flu.
  • Flight to Jamaica for us are considerably more expensive. I was heart broken of the thought of possibly not being able to make it but, we did get our flight booked.
  • Then the passport debacle. I realized that I never changed my passport from my maiden name. HUUUUGE oversight on my part. I rushed to get my passport expedited with my name change. It's now out of my hands and I need to just wait for it too arrive in time.
On a positive note ...
  • Bert & I got our wedding attire. I'm wearing a black halter chiffon dress and he's wearing a linen pants & shirt that I absolutely love on him!
  • We started a chore chart for Ethan. So far this week the playroom has been cleaned regularly (not by me!), he is making his bed (and his brothers too!), he is feeding the dogs and helping empty the dishwasher. We are awarding 15 min of video game play time for each completed chore. Thanks to my friend Inessa for the idea!
  • I shopped at Goodwill. This is always fun. As a teenager I shopped there all the time along with thrift stores. I like finding really interesting, affordable clothes that I knew no one else will have. I have needed a bed skirt for awhile and the one I found is absolutely perfect!
  • I went to yoga on Thursday night. It had been about 2 weeks and I was really ready for it. In this class you stretch deeply and and hold each pose for 3-5 minutes. I love it! Yoga makes me happy.
Well, my weekend has fun things planned and I hope to relax and enjoy my day tomorrow. I am ready to let this week go and look forward to a serene week ahead. Namaste.


free etsy sucess e-book

Modish biz tips let me know about this free e-book today - Secrets of Savvy Etsy Sellers. I wanted to pass it along in case you may want to check out too. It was created and compiled by Julie of On the Dot Creations and features tips on marketing, packaging, customer service and more for all you Etsy sellers! I'm not selling on Etsy yet but, hope to be some day!

Download the free pdf e-book from On the Dot Creations here.