Saturday, December 31, 2011


"We will open the book. Its pages are blank. We are going to put words on them ourselves. The book is called Opportunity and its first chapter is New Year's Day"
-Edith Lovejoy Pierce
On this last day of 2011, I am feeling some relief that this year is over.  I can't say that any one event was particularly traumatic or life changing, but there were things that overall made this not my favorite year.

It started out in January with me in family court with my ex, and although in the end it all worked out, it was several months of major stress and doubt.  Not to mention some seriously difficult financial times.  It was also the year of car repairs, something I am never very well prepared for.  It seems that is the one area that I tend to  neglect, I think it just  gets to be too much for me to keep up on, with the house, yard, work, kids, etc.  But in the end, I've learned that I am stronger than I thought, and proper maintenance leads to less problems down the road.  I hope to carry that lesson into 2012 regarding my own personal health as well. My experience with bursitis in April taught me just how debilitating severe pain can be.  Let's face it, I am too young to have those worries on top of every other worry a single-mom faces.  I ended my last week of December getting the last check-up I was long over-due for, and for me that is a starting point to focus this next year more on ME and my health. 

 At a memorial I recently attended for the mother of a friend of mine, he made the remark that his mom took far better care of everyone else than she did of herself.  That really had an impact on me, because I know I am guilty of the same. This life is just too short to take for granted, and I am afraid I have fallen into the rut of everyday life where I am not taking the best care of myself. 

I am hoping that the new year will bring me the courage to follow the dreams that I have for myself.  I regret that fear has kept me idle, and not moving forward this past year or two to become the person I really want to be, and most importantly, set an example for my daughters that they can look up to.

All in all, I have nothing to complain about, I have two beautiful daughters and a nice home.  I know many who faced real losses this past year, so I am grateful nothing that devastating happened to my own family.  This time of year always has me a little melancholy, and this year more so, as my sister and nieces were not able to spend the holidays with us.  I really missed not spending Christmas with those sweet girls. I am thankful though, for the time I got to spend with my own daughters, especially my oldest who is home from college for one more week.  We haven't done anything exciting, but it's just been nice to hang out together.

I am looking forward to a new year and hope that it brings you health, happiness, opportunities, and most of all, peace.  We can't ask for more than that.

Happy New Year & Happy Thoughts,

Monday, November 21, 2011


Think big thoughts but relish small pleasures. 
~H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures. ~Thornton Wilder

Reflecting today on all that I am thankful for...

My daughters
My family & friends
My home and the comfort it gives me
The country that I live in which allows me the freedoms we take for granted
A job that allows me to be home on the holidays with my loved ones

And the many small things that I try to stop and take notice of...

The change of seasons
The magic of the holidays and the festivities that surround them
A warm fire in my living room
Freshly baked cookies
A warm bubble bath
Flannel sheets
Hot coffee
Music & Art
The simple & amazing beauty of nature
The joy of giving gifts over receiving them
Using my hands to Craft, Cook, & Bake

What are you thankful for?

Wishing you Love, Warmth, & Happiness this Thanksgiving and always!

Happy Thoughts,

Sunday, October 23, 2011


If nothing ever changed, there'd be no Butterflies.

Well, as you can tell, I just can't find the time to blog regularly.  Too much stuff going on with work, kids, home, etc.

I have been making some time for crafting when I can, and getting out my Halloween decorations.  I hope to have some pictures up soon...

My youngest daughter turned 16 yesterday, oh, how the time flies!  Next weekend she will have a slumber party with a few girlfriends, so I have been making little things for her party to make it extra special.  She hasn't had a party in a year or two, so I am looking forward to it. Believe it or not, I kind of miss those slumber parties I used to have for my girls.
Isn't she cute?  She is sweet, shy, smart, and such an old soul at 16.
This is quick pic I took w/ my phone just before we left for one of my my best friend's wedding earlier this month.

Otherwise, life just seems to roll on by, I continue to try and figure it all out, how to balance everything, and pay all the bills. 

I know I'm not the only one who struggles with this on a daily basis,  but sometimes I just wish I could figure it all out before I'm too old!! :)

I made a little inspirational picture, trying to remind myself to do all these things....

Well, I'm going to keep this short, after all, the lawn is calling to be mowed and the bathrooms to be cleaned...I know, you are so jealous of my EXCITING life!!  Haha, but I am truly blessed, I have two of the most wonderful daughters a mother could ever wish for, and there isn't enough money in the world to buy that!

Happy Thoughts,

Sunday, September 11, 2011

This & That

Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference.

  ~Winston Churchill

It's been awhile since I've last posted, life just gets so busy.   I find it hard sometimes to actually concentrate long enough to write words that make any sense.
I used a lot of stuff around our office to decorate cheaply with.

I've been back to work now for over a month, and the first few weeks of a new school year are so busy, I'm completely wiped out when I get home from work.  Getting dinner ready, doing a few chores around the house/yard and preparing for the next day are sometimes the only thing I get done in the evening before it's time for bed.

I now officially have two "Juniors" in the in high school and one in college.  Time just keeps whizzing by and I can't believe I will be the mother of a 20 year-old in just a few days!

This is a cake I made for a good friend of mine for her birthday.  It is dark chocolate cake with straberry cream cheese frosting.  I used her homemade strawberry jam to flavor it.  The flowers are from my garden.
I continue to work on my creative side, in the past week or two, I made my first wedding invitations for a friend's mother, I also made another friend a 2-tiered cake for her daughter's 13th birthday.  One of my best friends is getting married next month and I am helping her with wedding favors and other goodies.  

I am by no  means a professional, but the cake tasted delicious! The bottom is a triple-layer dark chocolate, the top vanilla, all with vanilla cream cheese frosting.
A topper I made for the cake.
On the first day of school, I made some cute goodie bags and other cute printables with a Back-to-School theme design to welcome back the staff at the school I work at.  My boss and I set up a table in the lounge with breakfast goodies and coffee.  I think it helped to start the year off, keeping morale up is always a priority in these difficult economic times when education is constantly hit with budget cuts.

As I've said before, I work with a great staff, and I love making them smile.  I like to consider the work I do for these little events as practice, which help to hone my skills as a crafter, baker, and cook. 

My garden is growing, but showing signs of coming to an end.  This year my tomatoes came in much later than they have in the past, so I didn't have time to experiment much with new recipes before I returned to work.  Last night I did make a delicious batch of tomato soup with homemade croutons.  There is something so satisfying about making meals from scratch and especially using ingredients you have grown in your own garden, without harmful pesticides or chemicals.
Homegrown tomatoes
My first ever success with cantaloupe, it was so yummy!
Over the summer, the girls and I took our annual trip to Lake Tahoe, and this year my sister and nieces joined us.  It was fun to show them around to the beautiful places of Tahoe and get to spend that time with them.

A little 6" cake I made for the girls and I.

The inside came out looking like the colors of ocean water.

Maybe it's the end of summer, and the impending return of my daughter back to college, but I always get a little melancholy at this time of year.  There is always so much to do in preparation for the move back and the days are going fast with the busy-ness of a new school year for my younger daughter and all the activities she has right now.  I have been thinking a lot about what I will do when my youngest heads to college.  There is the financial aspect that brings up my worries for how I will afford to send her to college and also support myself when I will no longer receive the financial help from her father.  Then there is the emotional side, when I will possibly have a true "empty nest".  My girls mean the world to me, but I have always tried to have my own hobbies and friends, so that when it is time for them to spread their wings, I will not fall apart.  The last thing I would ever want is for them to feel guilty or worry about me being alone.

A person who has good thoughts cannot ever be ugly. You can have a wonky nose and a crooked mouth and a double chin and stick-out teeth, but if you have good thoughts they will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely. ~Roald Dahl

I like to think that there will be a new door opening for me when I am alone, more time to explore and develop the passions I have.  As each birthday comes for me now, I do feel a sense of urgency in figuring out "what will I do with my life".  There are dreams and hopes I have that I am starting to worry I am running out of time for.  I find myself looking for inspiration from women who started businesses or became financially successful at a "later age" in life.

I realize I am sharing a lot of really personal feelings now, but my worst fear is that I will spend my whole life dreaming of what I want to do, but never finding the time or resources to actually make it a reality.  I don't want to look back on my life with regret, and feel sadness for all the things that could have been. 

I love my job, but I also know that it is not what I am truly passionate about, and it does not provide me with the full financial support I need to keep my house and live a comfortable life on my own.  I don't need a lot, but I also don't want to spend the rest of my life living paycheck to paycheck as I am now, and always worrying about money.

Happiness is an attitude. We either make ourselves miserable, or happy and strong. The amount of work is the same. ~Francesca Reigler

In essence, I am trying to figure out how to turn my hobbies and passions into something more, something that I can possibly earn some income from.  I know there are many women out there looking for and doing the same thing, so I am not unique in my aspirations.

I would love hearing from other women who share the same feelings and who are turning their dreams into reality. 

Well, my chores are calling, two days off on the weekend don't leave much time for errands and chores, so it's off to my lawn-mower I go now...

Wishing you happy thoughts,

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

A little Fairy Magic...

Every time a child says, "I don't believe in fairies," there is a fairy somewhere that falls down dead.  ~James Matthew Barrie, Peter Pan

The first of three banners I made for inside the house.

I have mentioned before that I have two little nieces, now 4 and soon to be 7 years old, that I absolutely adore. Last week my sister and the girls came to visit. We, my girls, my parents, and I, were so excited to have them come, they hadn't been here since Christmas, and hadn't visited during the summer in over two years.

I had recently been in Southern California visiting with them when I picked up my daughter from college. She goes to school just a half hour from where they live in Carlsbad, CA, so I get to see them when I move her down and pick her up each year.  We also try to make another trip over spring break to visit all of them, "my girls", as I affectionately refer to my daughters, nieces, and sister.

I decorated the kitchen and dining room to match the theme.

On my last visit in June, the little girls and I planned a "Fairy Picnic" for when they would come to visit in July. The girls love nature and being outside, and of course, they love fairies! I let them help me decide the menu, just a simple lunch of tea sandwiches, salad, and fresh fruit "kabobs". I added in one of their favorite foods, deviled eggs, and tea cakes for dessert.

I included lots of little details, such as bubbles, a fairy door, comfy blankets, little bottle necklaces with pink "fairy dust" (aka, glitter) in them.  I forgot to take a picture of the fairy dust necklaces, but they were a big hit, and had to be re-filled several times, as the girls dusted everything in site!

This little table was all ready for them to put on their crowns, wings, and grab their wands before heading outside.

My little candy bars, the back had the quote:  "Just living is not enough", said the butterfly.  "One must have sunshine, freedom, & a little flower".


The picnic area all ready for them outside.

A table set for the "big girls".

All the flowers I used were from my own garden.

I used this table to keep all the food on, protected from flies and bees.

I forgot to take pictures of the food before we started serving, but I managed to get a couple shots before it was all gone.

They were so excited when they saw the picnic area all set up for them!

I think I had myself as excited for this picnic as they were; it was all I thought of and worked on my first 3 weeks off from work.  I tried to come up with inexpensive ideas, using my favorite color them of pink and green.  I tried to think of every detail that would make the day magical. 
A shot of India in her wings & crown.
India, 4
Sahara, 6

We had such a lovely day, spent mostly outside.  After lunch, we read stories, then my girls set up two slip-n-slides out on our front lawn, and the little girls had a blast sliding down the hill.  After that, they played on the trampoline, that sits so lonely in another area of my property.  My sister and I went for a walk down by the river, while my girls fixed dinner for everyone.  We ended the day setting off leftover fireworks from the 4th of July, in our backyard, it was truly magical.  It was definitely a day to remember, and  it lived up to the (high) expectations I couldn't help but have after all the work and anticipation.

The details...
Fairy Crowns I made for the girls, using candle rings I found on the clearance isle at Michael's.

Little Fairy Door, purchased from Lovinglee Crafted/Etsy, I hung it in a tree right next to the picnic area.

Close up on Bubbles Tag, Clip Art from revidevi/Etsy Shop
Bubbles purchased for $1 at Walmart, prettied up w/ ribbon and handmade tags.

Little Gumball Pipettes, Gumballs & Plastic Pipettes from Polka Dot Market

Little milk bottles & paper straws, purchased from Polka Dot Market.

Wands that I found on sale at Michael's, they came in a kit, but I used my own ribbon, tulle, and paper flowers to embellish them.

Skewers I decorated w/ ribbon for the fruit.
" I Believe in Fairies" Stickers we all wore.
An inexpensive candle I found at Ikea, I made a little "tu tu" for it w/ leftover ribbon, tulle, & flowers.

Little picks I made to match everything.
Bags with their initials for little gifts I had been collecting.

Fairy wings I "re-purposed" for my little niece.  They were found in my youngest daughters closet, long ignored by her.

My sister got so comfy under the trees, she took a little "Fairy Nap"

I will fondly remember this summer for the wonderful visit I had with my sister and her precious girls, especially our little "Fairy Picnic."

Happy Thoughts,