Monday, December 31, 2012

On to 2013!

Image courtesy of Dez Pain,

Happy New Year's Eve, friends!

How are you spending the last day of 2012? I'm spending mine the way I usually do—by taking some time to list my goals for the coming year. Although most years my list is pretty long, this year I've decided to keep it relatively short by choosing things that I actually want to accomplish rather than things that I just think I should. I'm excited about what I came up with! Here's my list, in no particular order:

♥ finish at least the first draft of my dad's memoir

♥ practice gratitude every day

♥ exercise regularly

♥ write more poetry

♥ reduce clutter and organize my house

♥ submit more of my writing

♥ work on my children's journals

♥ focus on one fiction idea and put all of my energy into it

♥ read 110 books

So there they are, my nine goals for 2013. And now tonight, I will celebrate the end of 2012 by watching movies, gorging on chips and dip, and drinking wine with my husband after the kids are in bed. ☺

How will you spend the last hours of 2012? Have you set any goals for next year?

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Sunday inspiration

Happy Sunday!

Today's video inspiration features a portrait created entirely from push pins—15,000 of them, to be exact! It took several weeks for the artists to create the portrait, and the result is amazing!

In the second video, the artists talk about their process and what happened behind the scenes, which is also pretty fascinating. Enjoy!


Saturday, December 29, 2012

Six-word Saturday

No resolutions for me—just goals.

Resolutions seems like such a daunting word. Goals is friendlier and much more accessible. Ever since I decided to write a list of New Year's goals rather than New Year's resolutions, I've found success easier to achieve. Maybe it's just a mind thing, but it works for me. ☺
Are you setting any goals for 2013?
Happy Saturday!

Friday, December 28, 2012

Friday fun

Happy Friday! I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas. I had a great one, but it's good to be back in blogging land with this week's funnies. Enjoy! ☺

Monday, December 24, 2012


Happy Christmas Eve, my friends! I'm going to be taking a few days off to enjoy the holiday with my family, but before I go, I want to wish all of you a very Merry Christmas!

Also, if you're feeling as though you need more holiday inspiration, be sure to watch this Christmas food court flash mob video. It's fantastic!

See you soon. ☺

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Sunday inspiration

Happy Sunday!

Two years ago, a group of singers from the Los Angeles-based Journey of Faith Church performed this Christmas flash mob at the South Bay Galleria in Redondo Beach. Watching it brings happy tears to my eyes, and I hope you enjoy it, too. Have a beautiful Sunday!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Six-word Saturday

First snow. Children's delight is contagious!

The kids were excited to find snow on the ground when they woke up this morning. They've been waiting for this for weeks! My Christmas to-do list is still very long, but something new has taken over the number one spot: Play outside with the kids! 
Have a happy Saturday!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Friday fun

Happy Friday!

Are you ready for Christmas? I thought I was, but in the last few days I've learned that I'm actually very, very far behind. If you're also feeling some holiday stress, maybe these funny pictures and videos will bring a much-needed smile to your face. Wishing you a peaceful, stress-free weekend. ☺

The next one is a rerun from last week, but I liked it so much that I just had to post it again:

Finally, here's Ellen with some hilarious bad gifts segments.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Our World Tuesday

Today I'm linking up with Our World Tuesday, a meme that encourages bloggers to share images of their world. It's a great way to get a glimpse of life through the eyes of others! You can find the site here. Even if you choose not to participate, I encourage you to take a look at the intriguing images being shared each week by bloggers from around the world.

* * * * * * * * * *

Those of you who have read my blog for a while probably know I have a fascination with the grandeur and character of old trees. I have that same fascination with old buildings. I took this photo last weekend when my family and I went to look at the Christmas trees a local Boy Scout troop was selling in the parking lot of a Methodist church here in Western New York. I was hoping to capture the stateliness of both the tree and the church.

Western New York church at dusk

Wishing you all a beautiful and eye-opening Tuesday. ☺

Monday, December 17, 2012

There's still good out there

We just have to look.

My thoughts and prayers are with all those affected by the Newtown tragedy. I still can't comprehend.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Sunday inspiration

Happy Sunday!

This artist, Xiaonan Sun, amazes me. I featured one of his other videos last August in this Sunday inspiration post. Here, he creates a portrait out of salt. I can't even imagine being so talented!

Have a great Sunday!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Six-word Saturday

Children's birthday party. Oh, my head! ;)
My kids were invited to a birthday party today, so I'll be spending the afternoon with them at a play center filled with nothing but bounce houses. I know the kids will have a lot of fun running around and making noise. I'll have fun, too—as long as I remember to bring the Tylenol!
Wishing you all a fun-filled Saturday!

Friday, December 14, 2012

Friday fun

Happy Friday! I hope you have a wonderful weekend. ☺

Thursday, December 13, 2012

I've caught the spirit bug!

I woke up this morning full of Christmas spirit. I'm like a child waiting for Santa! Here's why:

I'm usually a last-minute shopper, but for once, I'm almost completely done buying gifts, and while I haven't wrapped anything yet, I actually enjoy the job and plan on doing it during the stolen moments I can find in the next few days. We're buying our tree from the local Boy Scout troop tonight, and I'm looking forward to decorating it with my husband and kids this weekend. And a couple of weeks ago, my husband decorated the outside of our house. He created a beautiful display, but even he would agree that it's nothing like the one in this video, which is absolutely amazing!

I'm excited for Christmas. Things are shaping up!

How are your holiday preparations going? Are you ready for Christmas?

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Wordless Wednesday

Mornings like this take my breath away.

Wishing you a happy Wednesday. ☺

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Maybe it shouldn't...

but this video makes me smile. These penguins act a lot like humans, don't they?

Have a happy Tuesday!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Mission complete—but oh, what a day!

Oh, Santa, you do work hard.
Image courtesy of Sanja Gjenero,
Parents, you know how it is. When your child requests something special for Christmas—something he or she just has to have—you'll go to any lengths to make the dream come true.

I was on one of those missions yesterday. My task? To locate and bring home this doll: Sweet Dreams Dora. I'd seen her in stores all over town. Piece of cake, I thought.

I should have reminded myself of what holiday is coming up. Oh, and I probably should have considered one other thing:

For some reason, every girl loves Dora.

I drove to the local Toys R Us, where I'd seen the doll a few months ago. My first moment of panic hit when I discovered that the store had relocated its Dora section. Once I found the right area, I scanned the shelves, expecting to grab the doll and run to the register, but ... no Dora.

Actually, I should clarify: no Sweet Dreams Dora. There were Dora phones, Dora accessories, and baby Doras. There was a mermaid Dora, a plush Dora, and a bathtub set featuring Dora and her monkey friend Boots.

What there wasn't was a Sweet Dreams Dora.

On to the next store.

Once I had parked in the back forty of Target's crowded parking lot and made the hike to the store's door, I hightailed it to the toy section, raced to the Dora aisle, and stood gasping for air as I perused the shelves. That didn't take me long. They were nearly bare.

It's probably needless to say this, but I'll say it anyway:

No Sweet Dreams Dora.

I waved an exhausted good-bye to that store, trekked back to my Town and Country, and drove on to the next Target. By then it was raining, so I racewalked from the depths of the parking lot to the far corner of the store, where all the toys live. Be there, be there, I mumbled as I looked down each aisle.

I finally found the right section, and there on a shelf of picked-over toys, shining as if lit by a spotlight (okay, so I exaggerate) was my prize, the elusive Sweet Dreams Dora. A father looking confusedly at Barbies stood in front of her, blocking her from my reach, and I apologized as I nearly pushed him out of the way and captured that prized doll. "I've been to three stores looking for this thing," I said, and he nodded in understanding. He knew. All parents do.

I carried Dora to the register, holding my breath until the cashier gave me the bag and a thank you. Dora was mine! For a time, anyway. She will be my daughter's soon. At the moment, she's enjoying her temporary home in the crawl space, but come Christmas morning, my little girl will find Sweet Dreams Dora beneath the tree, her Santa dreams come true.


Now I know what you're probably thinking: Why didn't I just order the doll online and save myself the hassle? The answer is simple.

I am weird.

Don't get me wrong; I love shopping online. In fact, my husband and I sat down the other night and ordered several toys online. When it comes to dolls, though, I can't bring myself to click on Add to Cart. I like to pick them out myself because I always want to buy the one with the cutest face and best hair. It's shallow, I know, and also a waste of time since my three-year-old has a tendency to treat her dolls not so kindly anyway, but that's the way I am. Of course none of that mattered this time since I had only one doll to choose from, but hey, I tried! And I'm just glad I—I mean Santa—can make my daughter's dream come true.

So tell me, have you ever had to search high and low for a toy for your child? When you were a kid, what toy did you just have to have?

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Sunday inspiration

Happy Sunday!

My inspiration pick for the day is this creative stop-motion video about something most readers and writers probably spend some time thinking about: organizing their bookcases.

Our house is pretty small and has been taken over by toys, so most of my books have ended up in boxes. How do you organize your bookshelves? By color? Size? Author's last name?

Have a great day!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Six-word Saturday

Making a list, checking it twice.
There's just so much to do! I wouldn't be able to remember everything if I didn't make lists.
What's your strategy for making sure everything gets done during this busy time of year?

Happy Saturday!

Friday, December 7, 2012

Friday fun

I can't believe it's Friday already! Maybe it's the season, but it feels like the weeks are just flying by. Wishing you all a relaxing weekend. ☺

Thursday, December 6, 2012

If exercise were this much fun...

I think I'd do it more often!

Which would you choose—the escalator or the stairs?

Have a great Thursday!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Wordless Wednesday

Happy Wednesday!

I saw these signs recently in two locations of a well-known chain of mid-range to upscale U.S. department stores. I couldn't resist taking pictures.


Oops, they did it again.

Have a happy day!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Fashion police? Whatev. Just give me a cookie!

My shoes. They're not brown, but
they are comfortable. I'm such a rebel.
So I learned something this morning and feel it's my duty to warn you: If you go out today, make sure you're wearing brown shoes.
Yes, today is Wear Brown Shoes Day, one of those wacky holidays created by someone who, at least in my opinion, has a little too much time on his (or her) hands. The only brown shoes I own right now are three-inch heels, not exactly the perfect match for my typical mom uniform of yoga pants and a T-shirt. So, rebel that I am, I'll be traipsing through the grocery store in my beat-up gray sneakers with turquoise laces. Come and get me, fashion police!
Now if you also don't feel much love for Wear Brown Shoes Day, here's some good news: Today is also National Cookie Day, a holiday that sounds a lot more fun and useful to me. Cookies and I get along just fine, especially if they're chocolate, and I'm willing to bet a package or two might fall into my grocery cart...
So tell me, friends: Will you be wearing brown shoes today? And more importantly, will you be eating cookies?

This inquiring mind must know!

Whatever you decide to do, have a happy Tuesday. ☺

Monday, December 3, 2012

Hello, Monday

Hello, tulips. There's a reason you've become my favorite flower. 
Do you remember? (Here's a hint.) ☺

 Hello, Pinterest and ideas for fun kids' crafts.

Puffy Paint recipe from One Crafty Mumma.
Artwork by my kids.

Hello, cup of tea. This season makes me think of you.

Hello, new stack of library books. You make me happy.


Hello, Monday.
Hello, new beginnings and new chances.
Hello to a beautiful week. ☺

What are you saying hello to today?

This post was inspired by Lisa Leonard. Be sure to check out her great blog, found here.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Sunday inspiration

Happy Sunday!

Here is another imaginative stop-motion video I found recently during my travels around the Internet. The Olympus company created it a few years ago to celebrate the 50th anniversary of its PEN camera, and in it, they describe a journey through time based on photographs. According to the information the company posted on YouTube, the video's creators "shot 60,000 pictures, developed 9,600 prints, and shot over 1,800 pictures again"—with no post production! Enjoy!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Six-Word Saturday

Not enough coffee in the world...
The weekends just keep getting busier and busier.
 Today we're getting our family picture taken; next week we'll bring the kids to see Santa.
Our Saturday to-do list goes on and on at this time of year.

Whatever your plans, I hope you have a happy weekend!