In this materialistic land we roam today, amazing gifts are measured by how expensive it is, how high it is on a top 100 list, or how envious you can make someone when you put it up on the ‘gram. Let’s face it, being a stay at home mom doesn’t pay the bills so it won’t buy extravagance for any other outside of the home. So I try hard to really think up gifts that suit the receiver so I know every penny I spent was worth it to them. Thought is a huge part in my gift giving. That is, of course, if I’m not extremely backed up with kid things and if I know with absolute certainty that cash and a gift card is what they yearn for the most.
It was one of my very bestest friends’ birthday a couple of months ago and we don’t always exchange gifts on birthdays because we prefer time and talk over objects anyway. But this year when I thought about her birthday, I thought about the perfect gift for her. A video I came across on Facebook (watch here!) got me sucked in and intrigued. It was the video of a man who created MyIntent Project. It’s simple unique jewelry that shares meaningful intentions. The website states:
“MyIntent Project is a catalyst for meaningful conversations and positive action.
We believe there is purpose inside each of us and we want our efforts to encourage people to share more truth and inspiration with each other.
We are not a jewelry company – we are a service project.”
Refreshing, am I right? You simply go on the website, choose the type of accessory, and choose your WORD.
For my dear friend I chose “SORELLA” which means sister in Italian. She moved to Italy for a bit to rejuvenate and refocus. It was an important chapter in her life so all things Italian holds a very special place in her heart. And her being my one of my dearest friends, she holds a very special place in mine. So I gave her this gift so she will forever know MY intent. To continue to be there for her as I’ve always been no matter where life leads us. That I will never judge her for her most truest feelings. That I always will be happy for her success and always be by her side during her milestones. That I will infinitely appreciate the friendship and loyalty she has given me since day one on that crazy Colma night.
What’s special to you? What’s your hope or dream for the future?
What’s your WORD?
As the 2016-2017 school year is wrapping up, I try and remind Kole to cherish every moment as the last week is rounding out. He loves school. He loves his teacher. He loves his friends. Kole was lucky enough to have the same teacher for Kindergarten and First Grade so it’ll be just as sad for me to say goodbye to First Grade as it will be for Kole. If you know me, you know I love putting little gift sets together because I love giving gifts. Kole has definitely got that trait from me because we both always talk about what the next thing we can get or make for his classmates and teacher. After spending a couple of hours with his classmates on the class field trip I saw how extremely excited they got over popcorn. Yes, popcorn! I’ve seen excitement for cookies, candy, and ice cream but it seemed their love for popcorn ran deep! So I put a bag of popcorn and a bottle of bubbles in a cellophane bag so they can take a sit out in the sunshine, blow some bubbles, and snack on some good ol’ kettle corn. Happy summer, kids!
“Hope your summer is poppin’. Your friend, Kole.”
We can’t forget a little something for the captain of the class. The person who was able to hold it down for 20 of our little ones from the days of crisp fall air all the way until the summer sun heats up.
His teacher is one of the reasons he loves school and is always excited to learn. I wanted to make sure she knew that we appreciated everything she’s done with and for Kole for the past two years. You’ll always be Kole’s very first favorite teacher.
“Have a sweet & soothing summer. Love, Kole”
Thank you First Grade. You were the best. Second Grade, we’re ready for you.
Have a great summer and remember to watch more sunsets than Netflix.
Kettle Corn | Bubbles | Cellophane Bags | Photo Box |Anti Bacterial Soap |Tree Hut Travel Set | Face Mask | Bath Salts
The month of May was a bit of a rocky one for me, emotionally and mentally, but that didn’t stop me from cherishing those special moments with my tribe. Here are my May favorite moments.
Kole’s First Grade Field Trip | This month Kole’s class had a field trip to the Oakland Zoo. Ryan and I were able to chaperone which was pretty cool Kole was able to have both his parents there. Thank God he’s still at that age where he’s still hella down with that idea! Ryan and I were assigned 4 kids in total which was perfect because the other 3 kids happened to be Kole’s most favorite friends. We were so grateful to be able to see the interactions of these four friends. Not a care in the world except to have the best day ever at the zoo with their best buds. With all the craziness happening in the world today it was refreshing to witness these kids anxiously wanting to share their snacks with each other, excitedly wanting to sit next to each other, and caring for each other enough to make sure no one was feeling left out. I hope as they grow older and the vibrancy of the world starts to fade they’ll look back at a sweet memory at that one time in First Grade at the Oakland Zoo where they had a hell of a time with their classmates, where the kids that were their bestest buddies at the time were dope AF because they shared their Oreos, and where they got to hang with the coolest chaperones in town. 😉
Monroe | It’s amazing what a difference a month makes. He is picking things up so quickly! It also helps he has a big brother to look up to, aka completely mimic. When it’s prayer time before bed, he’s all about the sign of the cross and his “amen hands”. He is also becoming much sweeter. As I’ve said before, he is completely the opposite of Kole. He is a major handful and it just seemed he was born in the “terrible twos”. *I see you future CEO, I see you.* The other day I was a bit down and he obviously picked up on it. He was throwing me kisses left and right and the hugs just kept coming. I knew there was more sweet in this sour patch kid than he let on!
Nikko | Nikko is one of my closest and very best girlfriends. We like to think we are more like sisters than friends. She sent me a card in the mail this month and it absolutely made my day. First, sending personal snail mail is a lost art and that in itself lifted my spirits. Her words of appreciation for our friendship meant the freaking world to me. She also commended me on how I am as a mother. When you struggle with yourself trying to figure out if you’re doing the right things for and by your children you can get stuck under a dark cloud that you’ve created for yourself and feel like you’re drowning. Her words gave me some sunshine and a breath of fresh air. We don’t see each other very often but we always know when we need each other and how to be there for each other. Mia sorella per sempre.
What and who saved you from yourself last month? Keep them close and cherish them always. I’m almost positive you’ll need them again.
When Kole started school I became a straight hoarder with every single thing he brought home. I saved all his school work, homework, and art work. It was almost surprising I didn’t bronze his first pencil! Ha! He was my firstborn and I was proud and excited about all the new things he was learning. So yes, I kept 20 practice pages that had the upper case “A” and 20 practice pages with the lower case “a” and so forth. Total that up and we were basically buried under a preschool. Then he started First Grade this year and it was just getting out of hand. I tried putting them together in regular file boxes and it was ok but I wasn’t in love with the storage technique. It just wasn’t as organized, durable, or as clean as I wanted it to be. Remember in the show Friends when Monica’s dad stopped the water from getting to his Porsche using Monica’s boxes and it ruined everything in it? I’d hate myself if the hard work of those little fingers were forever wrecked. So I had to have a sit down with my little one and get his permission to let some things go. Although, he can be somewhat of a hoarder about that stuff too, he was on board! Hallelujah!
I kept the first tries, the most improved and the artwork that wasn’t falling apart. The pieces that were spewing glitter all over the place had to go too. Those were my worse nightmare. Thank goodness he was on the same OCD level about glitter as me! Also, I kept any special certificates and report cards of course. Now that I significantly downsized the lot, I had to figure out how I wanted to store it. While I was at Office Depot buying file folders for this project I took a look around and realized plastic storage bins were actually what I needed and were the best way to store Kole’s things for every grade. This would better protect his academic paper memories for years to come.
Let’s get organized.
After you’ve sorted through all your little one’s paper work, grab your keep pile and file them however you like in the filing folders.
Since we always end up with extra of beginning of the school year and mid school year pictures I used them to put in front of the file folder as part of labelling. Instead of taping or gluing the pictures on, I used photo corners to hold the photos in place for added flare. I love to hand write everything for a personal touch, as I did for the grade and year, but I know many fancy the label makers or printable tags for a more clean, uniform look. Do you, boo. Do you.
After those folders are everything you’ve dreamed of, place those puppies in your plastic storage bin and bid them adieu until next summer. But if you’re anything like me, you’ll keep them close by and accessible so you can just purge and fill it up throughout the school year!
Have a great summer!
That I am, a product of a strong female.
My mom is one of the most hardworking people I know. She literally is the first one in the office and the last one to leave. She puts everything she has into her work, whether she is the most energetic or the most exhausted. She’s accomplished so many things in her life and it came with a lot of struggles and that’s what’s so admirable to me. No matter what was thrown her way, she got shit done!
When it comes to family, she is all in. She’s the first one to help in any way she can. She leaves no man down. She’s always been there for me and my brother no matter how difficult we are. Always. How does she deal with us? She’s a damn good mother.
The fight and the heart of a mother is the strongest of any kind. The moment a woman feels that maternal instinct there is no stopping her. There is no breaking her. I, myself, know that when it comes to my boys I was always fight to the death. I will always fight for them to know the value of hard work. I will always fight for them to know what true love is. How to show it and how to receive it. I will always fight for them to know how strong they can be, not just physically, but intellectually. I will work tirelessly to make sure they embrace equality and to be strong enough to stand up for what is right. I will fight to make sure they know chivalry is not dead and should never die.
I will always fight for them (in any capacity) because, they too, are a product of a strong female.
Happy Mother’s Day to all you strong females!
Hey friends! There are so many special moments that I experience with my family that I wanted to start a little blog series about something that was said or done that stick out to me every month. A monthly favorites of sweet and sour antics of loved ones. Let us begin with April and the two little people I spend all of my time with.
Kole (My oldest son) | Kole can be a very shy person. He is also on the more cautious side and a bit of a worry wart. I’d say he definitely got that from me. We have always encouraged anything he was interested in. He’s pretty into art, so we get him supplies to express himself artistically and we are always there to listen to the why he made the what. He loves to read and I love that about him. I’m happy to know that he loves to get lost in words that take him from one adventure to the next. As much as we love that he is so creative and wants to ride that reading rainbow we also want him to get into some kind of sport so he knows the importance of focus and teamwork. He just recently got hit with the basketball cupid because he just started talking about basketball non stop. Now, remember when I said he was more on the cautious side and a worry wart? Well, as much as he has a newfound love for basketball, he is afraid of getting hurt with the ball. So we were presently surprised when he asked to go to a conditioning program his P.E. teacher recommended. Since he asked, we jumped at the chance to take him and he loved it! It was his very first time doing something like this and we were so proud he made the personal choice to step out of his comfort zone. Most of the other kids have been going to this program so they knew what they were doing but he wasn’t concerned about the other kids. He was focused on how HE was doing. He wasn’t the fastest and he hasn’t made a shot yet but he had so much fun and he was so focused on learning and getting better. We are so proud of him! He knows I hate the saying, “Practice makes perfect” because I try to instill in him that no one and nothing is perfect. But he knows I always say, “Practice makes better” and he has been asking to practice everyday. So wait and see, better he’ll become.
Monroe (My youngest son) | We have been so surprised with the little things Monroe has been doing on the daily this month. He notices our routines and knows exactly what to do and the next steps after. When we get Kole ready for school, Monroe goes and grabs his hat, then his shoes, sits and waits for me to put it on, then turns off the TV. He’s all ready to go! He’s starting to call out for us instead of pointing and grunting and he’s showing so much more love. He is quite the opposite of younger Kole and is extremely harder to raise. But he’s starting to be better to communicate with and I’m also becoming better at knowing how to work with him and his big, tough, personality.
What are your favorite moments with your favorite people?
To the teachers, big ups to all of you. Thank you for showing up everyday to make sure these kids walk out more knowledgeable than when they walked in. Thank you for having the patience to never give up on them. Thank you for giving all you’ve got to keep them interested in learning. Thank you for it all.
Teacher appreciation week is approaching and one of the themed days is flower day. Flowers are beautiful but they don’t last forever. So my crafty mind started thinking up others ways to be able to represent the theme. I wanted to give Kole’s teacher something that she would be able to keep. To be able to look at in the future and just remember how much we, especially Kole, enjoyed and appreciated having her as a 1st grade teacher. So I decided to make her a small paper bouquet. I was inspired by money leis and used that technique to make the flowers then bunched them together to make the “bouquet”.
The set up:
I have so many craft items at home that I wanted to make sure I made do with what I had. (It’s like I have my own Michael’s store in my house. Yeesh!) And I was happy to realize I never had to step foot out of my house because I had everything I needed.
I’ve never made a money lei myself but was always in admiration of all my friends who make them for graduations and weddings. So I followed this video tutorial.
In replacement of dollar bills I cut up scrapbook paper to size and made the petals. I held them together using left over twist ties that come with cellophane bags instead of floral wire or ribbon like the video recommended. For the stem I cut up another piece of scrapbook paper (1.5×6 inches) and rolled it up. Then twist tied the flower to the stem.
After I made enough flowers, I folded another piece of scrapbook to resemble the paper wrapped around a real bouquet of flowers and taped the flowers on the inside to hold.
There you have a simple craft project you can put together with your little one for Mr. or Mrs. Teacher! If you think your kids are hard to handle at home, imagine having 20 of them all day. Oh Lawd! Bless their heart.
Happy Teacher Appreciation Week!
I LOOOOOVE CANDLES. Like, so much. I always end up with more than I can ever use in a year but I can’t help it! Those four candles are not even half of what I have in my closet. And if you are anything like me, you have fallen victim to those fabulous (yet dangerous) 2 for $20 Bath & Body Works candle sales. I mean, what’s not to love about them? You save money since regular price for ONE candle is $22.50 and your house can smell like a pumpkin patch, a winter wonderland, or a Hawaiian beach all year round. But the one downfall is that I end up with all these glass jars with unusable wax and wick and it drives me crazy throwing something away that just feels like they have so much life left.
As I was brainstorming on what to do with them I looked around my house and realized I kept buying little glass jars for things that are basically the same as the candle jars just without the candle! Duh. What a waste of freaking money! Gah! Especially when I’m a stay at home mom trying to figure out how I’m going to earn money to buy these damn candles. Vicious. Fucking. Cycle.
So this is how I gave them new life.
• I filled a pot with enough water to surpass the left over wax in the candle jar and let boil (without the candle in the pot).
• Once the water reaches boiling point I removed the pot from the heated stove and placed the candle in it to warm up the wax (without the candle jar lid). ****Please use an oven mitt when necessary! Ain’t nobody got time for no burns or broken glass to pick up after you drop the jar because it’s too hot. Safey first, people!
• When the wax is soft enough, remove the jar and you can just scoop the wax out and the wick bases should come right off as well. A plastic utensil would work just fine. (I only waited until I was able to just stick a fork into the softened wax and removed. That way you would only have to deal with very little liquid wax.) Be mindful that during this process the wax can start to harden and get stuck on the jar where it’s not warm if all the wax isn’t removed right away. But have no fear! We’ll get that sucker off! If any wax is left behind, fill the jar with hot water and let soak for a bit then you can wipe off with a towel or go straight to washing it with soap and a sponge. The label on the front and at the bottom should also come right off and if not, become friends with Goo Gone!
You are good to go. Easy peasy! There you have a new empty glass jar that you can use however your heart desires.
Note: I’m sure there are so many other ways to do this project but this is how I went about cleaning out my candle jars. Good luck and have fun with however you choose to create!
I can’t believe we celebrated Kole turning 7. SEVEN!! Where the hell did time go?
We threw a party for him at his favorite place to celebrate, The Little Gym. He loves the simple, yet fun, activities the instructors put together for the kids. Whenever we have small birthday parties for him, my favorite part is all the DIYs. I. Am. The. Most. *insert eye roll emoji here* This year’s theme was Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and that was was a fun one to brainstorm for.
- Pizza Garland: TMNT and pizza must go hand in hand. I cut up cardstock paper into triangles and used a circle punch I got from Michael’s to make the little pepperoni and glued them on each triangle alternating three pep’s on one and four on the next. 3+4=7 I’M ANNOYING. Ha!
- TMNT & NYC Centerpieces: At the Little Gym, after the kid activities are done, the children get to sit and eat on a long table set up just for them so I decided to make centerpieces to add a little life to the table cloth set up. I used dry foam bricks, cut them up to resemble city buildings, then wrapped them up in black tissue paper. Then I cut up pieces of yellow card stock paper to resemble the windows and glued them on the “buildings”. For the TMNT heads I traced the inner part of a mason jar lid, cut them up, and glued them on woody skinny sticks, and stuck them right through the top of the wrapped foam brick.
- The Favor: Like I’ve said before, TMNT and pizza just goes hand in hand, so I ordered some pizza boxes on amazon and bought a printable on Etsy that was perfect for my boxes. On the inside: I DIY’d nunchucks since my son’s favorite turtle is Mikey. I crocheted masks and put together some TMNT nicknacks. Phew!
- Cake & Other Sweet Stuff: We are so lucky to know so many talented bakers! We contacted our close resources to help make Kole’s party the most AWESOME! *The cake was made by a friend who has made Kole a birthday cake for every single one of his birthdays and his baptism. He loves how she brings his visions to life. (Yes, Kole takes part in planning his birthday cake!) *The Cupcakes were made by another friend who is our go to. Her cupcakes are simple but delicious as hell. Kole loves her version of the S’more cupcakes so they were a must for the party. *The TMNT cookies were made by my cousin’s close friend who is an extremely talented pastry chef. She surprised me with the pizza cookies and custom labels for the boxes to say “Kole’s Cowabunga Pizza”. How freaking cool is that!!!??! *The TMNT M&M packs were hand made and put together by one of my best friends who is not only busy being an amazing mom but also busy building her own business. Those were one of the favorites of the kiddie guests because who doesn’t love M&Ms!!
This party was so fun to put together because everything was pretty simple to DIY. Crocheting the masks took the most time so I started with that in January only because I knew that life can get in the way and I wanted to make sure that those definitely got into the favor boxes. Kole loved every detail we added to his party and he had a hell of a time. BOOYAKASHA!